Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How Zionists Enforce the Party Line on Israel

Ever wonder why Western political parties and institutions such as the media and universities can generally be relied upon to toe the line on Israel?

One thing's for sure. It has nothing whatever to do with any particular fondness for the beast. Basically, it comes down to fear, fear of becoming the target of a campaign of confected outrage, sometimes accompanied by a threatened or actual loss of funding, or maybe even legal action.

To cite but one local example: despite the claptrap we hear from Labor leaders at Zionist functions about Australia and Israel sharing common values, and the nonsense they spout concerning the 'glorious' role of Labor icon Doc Evatt at the United Nations in laying the foundations for the creation of the Jewish state, the ALP's current piss-poor position on Palestine/Israel stems primarily from the party's reliance on Zionist funding - see my 22/6/10 post The Best Israel Policy Money Can Buy.

The case of pro-Palestinian US academic Steven Salaita*, a professor of English and an authority on Arab and Native Americans, provides a rare glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes whenever the usual suspects get their knickers in a knot over anyone with the gumption to critique Israel from a mainstream party, media, or academic platform.

To set the scene:

"On Friday, officials of the University of Illinois offered their first public explanations for the decision to block the hiring of Steven Salaita. They denied that his criticism of Israel was the reason, and said that they were committed to promoting an atmosphere in which people and ideas are not demeaned. 'What we cannot and will not tolerate at the University of Illinois are personal and disrespectful words or actions that demean and abuse either viewpoints themselves or those who express them...' said an email from Phyllis M. Wise, chancellor of the Urbana-Champaign campus where the American Indian studies program offered Salaita a tenured position that he and the department believe he accepted. Since news emerged 3 weeks ago that Wise told Salaita that the job would not be his because she would not submit it to the Illinois board for approval, the decision has been the subject of intense national debate in academic circles and beyond." (U. of Illinois officials defend decision to deny job to scholar; documents show lobbying against him, Scott Jaschik, insidehighered.com, 25/8/14)

Now for that rare, behind-the-scenes look at what it was that influenced or prompted the university's chancellor to deny this perceptive and passionate critic of Israeli apartheid and terrorism a job:

"Also on Friday, the university responded to an open records request from Inside Higher Ed for communications to the chancellor about the Salaita appointment, prior to her action to block it. The communications show that Wise was lobbied on the decision not only by pro-Israel students, parents and alumni, but also by the fund-raising arm of the university. The communications also show that the university system president was involved, and that the university was considering the legal ramifications of the case before the action to block the appointment. Most of the emails have the names of the senders redacted and some are nearly identical, suggesting the use of talking points or shared drafts. Many of the letter writers identify themselves Jewish and/or sympathetic to Israel, as students, parents or alumni, and as people who say that the tone of Salaita's comments (especially on Twitter) makes them believe he would be hostile to them and to their views... While many of the emails are fairly similar, some stand out. For instance, there is an email from Travis Smith, senior director of development for the university of Illinois Foundation, to Wise, with copies to Molly Tracy, who is in charge of fund-raising for engineering programs, and Dan C. Peterson, vice chancellor for institutional advancement. The email forwards a letter complaining about the Salaita hire. The email from Smith says: 'Dan, Molly, and I have just discussed this and believe you need to [redacted].' (The blacked out portion suggests a phrase is missing, not just a word or two.)... At least one email... was from someone who identified himself as a major donor who said he would stop giving if Salaita were hired."

There's plenty more along these lines in Jaschik's report, but I'm sure you've got the idea. See also Steven Salaita's academic lynching by Stephen Lendman (sjlendman.blogspot.com, 25/8/14)

[*For those who might like to explore Salaita's writings, I can personally recommend Anti-Arab Racism in the USA (2006) and Israel's Dead Soul (2010).]

Monday, August 25, 2014

Palestine/Israel: It's Colonialism, Stupid

As I've indicated countless times already on this blog, the Palestine/Israel conflict separates the sheep from the goats like no other issue. It's been around now for almost 100 years (which I compute from the Balfour Declaration of 1917 on), oceans of ink have been spilt on reporting it in that time, and entire libraries could be stocked merely with the books written on it.

IOW, there are no excuses for not have a basic understanding of the issue, particularly on the part of those who make a buck commenting on the affairs of our time.

So what do I find in yesterday's Sun-Herald:

"Remove questions of God from Israel and Gaza and you're left with two people who have more in common than they care to realise."  (Killing in God's name is beyond belief, Sam de Brito)

Yet another Fairfax columnist recycling the dumbest of all the zombie myths that bedevil an understanding of this conflict: It's all about religion.

The terrible irony, of course, is that journalists like Mike Carlton and Glen Le Lievre, who 'get' that the conflict is a struggle over land between indigenous Palestinian Arabs and non-indigenous European colons (aka Zionist settlers), are hounded and smeared, while boofheads like de Brito and Moir, to name but two, who cluelessly peddle zombie myths about the conflict never come under attack - except, of course, on this little blog.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

News Corpse

Thus spake Kim Williams, former chief executive of Murdoch's News Corp, publisher of The Australian, on the subject of digital vs print media:

"In a digital sphere, nothing and no one is safe. Merit, ingenuity, speed, flexibility now rule the day in the media. This is, on the one hand, a good thing because it is giving unparalleled empowerment to invention and creativity, with the opportunity of entirely new ways of working and connecting. On the other hand, a well developed sustainable model for commercial delivery of serious independent journalism, as we have known it, is yet to emerge in the digital sphere." (Commentary on financial leaks a festival of vengeance from New Corporation, Sydney Morning Herald, 22/8/14)

What struck me here was the reference to "serious independent journalism, as we have known it." (I'm assuming that's the royal we.)

Known it where?

Surely not at News Corpse.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Genocide That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Consider the following data:

(a) "Genocide is the systematic destruction of all or part of a racial, ethnic, religious or national group via (a) Killing of members of the group..."

(b) "Israel has killed 1 in every thousand Gazans. That's the equivalent of 300,000 Americans." (Saree Makdisi tweet, 19/8/14)

(c) "Murad, the head of Gaza's bomb squad, estimated that Israel had dropped between 18-22 thousand tons of explosives on Gaza since 7 July... If Murad's estimate is right, then the explosive power Israel has fired on Gaza by land, sea and air so far is roughly equivalent to one of the atomic bombs the United States dropped on Japan in August 1945." (How many bombs has Israel dropped on Gaza? Ali Abunimah, electronicintifada.net, 19/8/14)

Given the astonishing scale of death (now over 2000) and devastation wrought by the Israeli military on the population of the Gaza Strip, you'd think the 'G' word would at least occasionally crop up in msm reporting on the subject, right?

I haven't seen it used even once.

Sydney Morning Herald columnist Waleed Aly, however, had no trouble yesterday calling a genocide a genocide when talking about ISIL's rampant violence in northern Iraq, referring to its "campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide" against the Yazidis. (The oldest terrorist tactic: provoke an overreaction, 22/8/14)

I note that he made no use of the 'G' word in an earlier column on Gaza, MH17, Gaza & the value of human life (25/7/14).

Interesting, eh?

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Mysterious Abu Joe 3

"Taxpayers are paying Treasurer Joe Hockey $270 a night to stay in a house owned by his wife. Mr Hockey has legitimately claimed $108,000 in travel allowance for 368 nights over the past 4 years, including many nights for parliamentary sitting weeks when he has stayed at the Canberra property in which his wife has a majority share... He would not be drawn on whether there were any tax minimisation advantages to [the] ownership structure of the property... The home is worth an estimated $1.5 million according to local real estate agents... When it was purchased, Mr Hockey was listed on sales documents as owning 5%, his wife, Melissa Babbage, 61% and his father, Richard Hockey, 34%." (You're paying Joe's rent on $1.5m home, Samantha Maiden, The Sunday Telegraph, 17/8/14)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Question for Coach Tony

Coach Tony uses 2GB (G'Day, Bogans!) to announce his version of 'Australia: Love It or Leave It':

"Don't migrate to Australia unless you want to join 'Team Australia' Tony Abbott has declared, ahead of his meetings with Muslim leaders this week... 'My position is that everyone has got to be on Team Australia. Everyone has got to put this country, its interests, its values and its people first, and you don't migrate to this country unless you want to join our team'." (Tony Abbott says new migrants must be on 'Team Australia' as he steps up war on home-grown jihadists, Jennifer Rajca, news.com.au, 18/8/14)

Breathe in... breathe out... breathe in.... breathe out...

But when pep-talking Australian Muslim leaders it's all hush hush: "The PM's office invited only multicultural media to the press conference before the meeting..." (Onus of proof unreasonable, Muslim heads tell Abbott, David Wroe/Daisy Dumas, Sydney Morning Herald, 19/8/14)

Keysar Trad, a meeting attendee, is quoted by the Herald as saying that "leaders had also asked why dual Australian nationals fighting with the IDF were not being targeted." (ibid)

Surely, we're entitled to know how Coach Tony fielded that one?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

PAGS Press Release 2

20 August

Palestine protest going ahead on Thursday after court decision: now meeting at Taylor Square

"A protest against the opening night of the Israeli Film Festival will be held at Taylor Square at 5.30pm on Thursday, despite today's judgment in the Supreme Court of NSW. Protest organisers have condemned the court for upholding NSW Police's decision not to facilitate the protest, which was originally called outside the Palace Verona Cinema in Paddington, the cinema hosting the festival.

"In handing down his decision on Wednesday, the Supreme Court's Justice Hidden stressed that the courts do not have the right to either ban or to authorize protests. All the court has done is remove the immunity from prosecution that participants would otherwise have if disruption to the road is caused. Nevertheless, today's decision has effectively banned the protest from going ahead in the form the organisers had chosen.

"'This has every appearance of a politically motivated bid to silence pro-Palestine activists,' said Nick Riemer from Sydney Staff for BDS, one of the coalition of groups organising the protest. 'The court apparently doesn't think the right to protest is important enough to justify the same traffic arrangements which would easily be made for a burst water-main or a broken down bus. This should be of grave concern to everyone committed to political freedom in our society.'...

"Today's decision recalls the banning of a protest against against the Gaza war in Paris last month. It comes in the context of tightening restrictions on the right to protest in Australia. Victoria and Tasmania have both recently introduced laws which restrict protesters' rights... Organisers have decided that Thursday's protest to draw attention to Israel's ongoing war on Gaza will assemble at Taylor Square at 5.30pm. Israeli attacks have now killed over 2,000 Palestinians..."