Monday, February 27, 2017

Meet the ALP's 3 Alt-Amigos

Tired of Labor's 3 Amigos (Hawke, Rudd & Evans), as that prince of pundits Greg Sheridan refers to them? How about Labor's 3 Alt-Amigos then?

Read on:

There's Kimmie, a Middle East specialist who could have pulled off a peace deal between Palestine and Israel long ago if only Bill Clinton hadn't hogged the stage:

"Former Labor leader Kim Beazley has waded into the growing rift within Labor over formal recognition of Palestine, saying Palestinian leaders have become 'very comfortable' applying moral pressure on Israel but have not undertaken the hard yards necessary to reach a lasting peace... Mr Beazley said the focus on Israel and Mr Netanyahu, who he described as a 'difficult messenger' for social democrats to bear, had effectively given the Palestinians a free pass on hard questions such as the issue of Palestinian returns [?] and the status of East Jerusalem." (Palestinians must do the hard yards: Beazley, Paul Maley, The Australian, 24/2/17)

And Kimmie knows all about the hard yards. That slog in Washington as Australia's ambassador was hell. Hell! So bad, in fact, it drove the poor man to drink: "Former Labor leader Kim Beazley charged taxpayers $3, 420 for 12 bottles of Penfolds Grange during his time as ambassador to the US in 2014, an expenditure list shows." (Kim Beazley charged taxpayers thousands of dollars for bottles of Penfolds Grange while US ambassador, Uma Patel, ABC News, 29/9/16)

There's Mr Bean. For sheer depth of knowledge of the Palestine problem, he's in a class of his own, as these perceptive comments show:

"A Right faction powerbroker, Senator Dastyari, who does not support immediate recognition of a Palestinian state as advocated by Bob Hawke, Mr Evans and Mr Carr, said the party should not ignore other humanitarian challenges abroad. In recent years, there have been atrocities in Syria, Libya, Iraq and throughout the Middle East... I have always been a strong supporter of a two-state solution and of Australia playing a role to help facilitate that (but) the Labor Party can't afford to focus on the Palestinian question at the expense of the other humanitarian challenges.' The Iranian-born senator said he supported the party reviewing its policy but made it clear recent interventions in support of Palestine by Mr Hawke, Mr Evans and Mr Carr were unhelpful prior to Mr Netanyahu's visit." (Sam Dastyari berates Labor Party push to endorse Palestinian state, Troy Bramston, The Australian, 20/2/17)

Finally, there's the legendary Richo, who, as an ALP factional warrior, brings his unique experience of Ultimate Cage Fighting (UCF), ALP-style, to say nothing of his wealth of expertise and profound insight on the subject of Palestine/Israel, to bear on that fraught matter:

"An emboldened Netanyahu has since expanded his plans to settle more Israelis in the West Bank. The new settlements are at the heart of why those Labor elders like Bob Hawke and Bob Carr, Gareth Evans and Kevin Rudd are walking away from Israel and seek succour and comfort in the tender arms of the PLO and Hamas. Frankly I don't see much comfort there and I can't go along with recognising the Palestinian state unless and until Hamas resiles from its commitment to boot every Jew out of Israel... Ever since I was born there have been troubles in Israel and that will continue till I am gone and beyond." (Netanyahu not a man given to compromise, Graham Richardson, The Australian, 24/2/17)

No doubt about it, Labor's got talent.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Auntie Poppy Syndrome

If you were an aging baby boomer and, while still young and tender, had the misfortune to have in the family a dotty old aunt who had one too many bees in her bonnet for her own or your good, and who repeated, mantra-fashion, in year ear, the injunction to never forget that the Jews are God's chosen people, you may - perish the thought - contingent on the onset of some kind of developmental delay, have ended up as the foreign editor of Murdoch's Australian, projectile-vomiting such dark green prose as the following:

"What a caterwauling coven of craven zeitgeist whisperers they are - Bob Hawke, Kevin Rudd and Gareth Evans - calling for Australia to formally recognise a Palestinian state, the three of them like the witches of Macbeth intoning sterile incantations; in this case not with the purpose of affecting reality but rather to signal once again their sublime and ineffable virtue." (ALP's three amigos only invite ridicule by maligning Israel, Greg Sheridan, 25/2/17)

I, therefore, nominate what I call 'Auntie Poppy Syndrome' (after Sheridan's Auntie Poppy, as described on page 22 of his 2015 memoir When We Were Young & Foolish: A Memoir of My Misguided Youth with Tony Abbott, Bob Carr, Malcolm Turnbull, Kevin Rudd & Other Reprobates) for inclusion in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

'A Sea of Billionaires & Millionaires'

And "two prime ministers in heated agreement."
"A sea of billionaires & millionaires"
And "two prime ministers in heated agreement."
"A sea of billionaires & millionaires"
And "two prime ministers in heated agreement."

"In front of six billionaires and 450 of Australia's business and political elite, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday heralded a new era of closeness between Israel and Australia... Six billionaires - Gina Rinehart, Harry Triguboff, Solomon Lew, John Gandel, Jeanne Pratt and her daughter Fiona Geminder - watched the leaders plight their troth commit to closer relations between the two countries.

"But somewhere among the sea of billionaires and millionaires there was an elephant in the room. The concept of a two-state solution was barely mentioned - Mr Netanyahu did not refer to it at all, while Mr Turnbull made only a passing reference to it... At the top table Mr Netanyahu was flanked on one side by Mr Turnbull and on the other by former PM John Howard. Mr Turnbull showed some cross-party magnanimity to usher Labor's justice spokesman Mark Dreyfus to meet Mr Netanyahu. Opposite Mr Netanyahu were Scott Morrison, businessman David Gonski, Ms Geminder and Mark Leibler, the national chairman of the Australia-Israel & Jewish Affairs Council [AIJAC], who was the event's master of ceremonies... 'This is not happening in the US or Europe, [he said], where leaders hop in and out - it's happening in Australia.'

"Bill Shorten was present, seated between [AIJAC's] Colin Rubenstein and Mr Lew. The head of the Australian Secret Intelligence Organisation [ASIS], Nick Warner, was also a guest... Others present included businessmen Albert Dadon, David Gonski and Barry Smorgon, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione and Sam Lipski... the chief executive of the Pratt Foundation. Key leaders of the Jewish community were present, including Peter Wertheim from the Executive Council of Australian Jewry [ECAJ] and Danny Lamm from the Zionist Federation of Australia [ZFA]... The two prime ministers were on heat in heated agreement." (Colour me Aussie, leader tells the faithful, John Lyons, The Australian, 23/2/17)

"This is not happening in the US or Europe... it's happening in Australia."
"This is not happening in the US or Europe... it's happening in Australia."
"This is not happening in the US or Europe... it's happening in Australia."

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Who is Writing Trumble's Pro-Israel Propaganda?

I mean, Jeeesus:

"Whether it was the elaborate water system of Herod's fortress on Masada or the desalination plant at Ashkelon, whether it was the ancient streets of old Jerusalem or the boardrooms of Tel Aviv... throughout its history the greatest natural resource of Israel has been the brilliance and the enterprise of its people,' the Prime Minister said at a lunch in Sydney in honour of Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu." (PM lauds Israel as 'original start-up nation', Stephen Fitzpatrick, The Australian, 23/2/17)

And how can he deliver it with a straight face?

More Than Friends...

You & I are more than friends. We're like a really small gang.

"Seeking to smooth over relations ahead of his meeting with Mr Netanyahu tomorrow, Mr Shorten told The Australian the Israeli leader could be confident that the longstanding friendship between Labor and the Jewish state remained strong. 'Israelis and Palestinians can be sure that they have a great friend in the Labor Party,' Mr Shorten said. 'Good friends are honest with each other, we always have been. I've met with the Prime Minister before and we get on well. We have a direct relationship. I'm looking forward to seeing him again'." (Israeli PM blasts Labor elders, Simon Benson/ Sarah Martin, The Australian, 23/2/17)

"More moderate Arab nations will begin to see Israel as a friend and ally against extremist 'barbarians', visiting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared. Mr Netanyahu said last night that recent visits to Muslim-majority nations Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, where Jews were free to practice their religion openly, had given him hope Israel would be seen as a 'beacon of light amidst the darkness'. 'Many Arab countries (will) realise Israel is not their enemy but their valuable ally in fighting off the barbarism that surrounds all of us,' Mr Netanyahu told about 2000 mostly Jewish attendees at Sydney's Central Synagogue last night. During the recent trips to the two former Soviet republics, Mr Netanyahu saw Jews singing 'Jew songs in Arab countries'." (Israel a friend for all in the battle against barbarism: Bibi, Anthony Klan/ Simon King, The Australian, 23/2/17)

"We would never support a resolution so one-sided, attributing fault only to the state of Israel,' Mr Turnbull said. 'We are a committed and consistent friend. We have been so since the beginning and we will always be." (ibid)

"The lunch cemented a close bond between Australia and Israel. 'When I colour the map', Mr Netanyahu told those attending, 'I colour Australia the same colour as I colour the United States'." (ibid)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Deconstructing Trumble's Cut & Paste

A critical look at PM Trumble's pro-Israel propaganda piece in The Australian of 22 February, specifically the first 3 paragraphs, yields much of interest for those of us who still harbour a preference for facts over myths and a respect for the historical record.

Trumble kicks off with this sentence:

"Our friendship is as old as the state of Israel itself."

Now compare that with the opening sentence from the second section of former Labor foreign minister Stephen Smith's Australia & Israel speech, delivered on 19 May, 2009:

"Australia's support for the State of Israel goes right back to its creation."

Now consider the next two sentences in Smith's speech:

"Foreign Minister H.V. Evatt, one of my predecessors, played an important role through his Chairmanship of the United Nations International [sic: Special] Commission on Palestine in 1947. Evatt understood the justice of Israel's right to full international citizenship at a time when many still did not."

As a Liberal, of course, Trumble had no use for those two sentences about a former Labor foreign minister (1945-49), whatever services he may have rendered to the Zionist movement in the late 40s. So the Evatt references ended up on the cutting-room floor.

Trumble's next sentence reads:

"Australia was the first country to vote in favour of the 1947 UN partition resolution adopted by the General Assembly, which led to the establishment of Israel in 1948."

Now compare that with Smith's next sentence. As you'll see, both sentences are based on the curious idea that Australia, like some over-the-top, competitive schoolkid with his hand up, screaming Sir! Sir! Sir! to a teacher's question, just couldn't wait to give the Zios a leg up in Palestine:

"When a vote was called that year on General Assembly Resolution 181 to establish separate Jewish and Arab states, the Australian delegate was the first to vote. And the first to vote in favour of the proposal."

(Actually, in Trumble's version, the implication seems to be that the Australian delegate somehow, preternaturally knew he was voting for 'Israel', which was still 6 months away from being declared!)

Smith then proceeds to tell us that Evatt "presided over the historic May 1949 vote admitting Israel as the 59th member of the United Nations."

Again, Evatt has been trimmed from Trumble's piece,

Smith continues:

"Following that vote, Israel's distinguished representative Abba Eban acknowledged the contribution that Evatt and the Australian Government had made to the international recognition of Israel, when he said: 'The manner in which you steered to a vote this second historic Resolution... the warmth and eloquence with which you welcomed Israel into the family of nations, have earned for you the undying gratitude of our people'."

Now here's Trumble's near duplicate version:

"Following the vote, Israeli representative Abba Eban acknowledged Australia's contribution. 'The manner in which you steered to a vote this second historic resolution... the warmth and eloquence with which you welcome Israel into the family of nations, have earned for you the undying gratitude of our people'."

Notice that, in Trumble's version, Eban is portrayed as as praising Australia for "steering to a vote" the 1947 partition resolution (181) of November 1947 (as chair of the UN's Ad hoc Committee on Palestine - and after succumbing to the blandishments of Australian Zionists - he favoured partitioning Palestine over seeking an ICJ advisory opinion), whereas, in fact, he was praising Australia's vote with respect to the May 1949 admission of Israel to UN membership (conditional, BTW, on Israel's implementation of UNGA resolution 194, allowing the return of Palestinian refugees displaced by the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948). The reference to "second historic resolution" (the first referring to the 'partition' resolution) confirms this.

IOW, what we have here is nothing more or less than a cheap cut and paste of an earlier Labor speech, itself probably cribbed from some Zionist propaganda document. Obviously the work of one of Turnbull's minders, it's a perfect example of what is known as 'received wisdom', never examined factoids, endlessly recycled as fact by the mainstream media and junk 'scholarship'.

But it's particularly on this one-sentence third paragraph that I wish to dwell. Because nothing could be further from the truth:

"The key role Australia played in ensuring the security and prosperity of the Jewish people should be a source of pride for us all."

One implication here is that Australia (and, presumably, the other countries which voted for partition in November 1947) was thinking primarily about the fate of Holocaust survivors, many of whom were living at the time in Displaced Persons Camps in Europe. And contrariwise, that those countries which voted against the partition of Palestine were one and all Jew haters.

Now consider the following excerpt from the anti-partition speech of Pakistan's representative, Sir Zafrullah Khan, and note, in particular, his sarcastic reference to Australia:

"What has Palestine done? What is its contribution toward the solution of the humanitarian question as it affects Jewish refugees and displaced persons? Since the end of the First World War, Palestine has taken over 400,000 Jewish immigrants. Since the start of the Jewish persecution in Nazi Germany, Palestine has taken almost 300,000 Jewish refugees. This does not include illegal immigrants who could not be counted.

"One has observed that those who talk of humanitarian principles, and can afford to do most, have done the least at their own expense to alleviate this problem. But they are ready - indeed, they are anxious - to be most generous at the expense of the Arab.

"There have been few periods in history when members of the Jewish race have not been persecuted in one part or another of Europe. When English kings and barons indulged in the pastime of extracting the teeth of Jewish merchants and bankers as a gentle means of persuading them to cooperate in bolstering their feudal economy... Arab Spain provided a shelter, a refuge and a haven for the Jews.

"Today it is said: only the poor persecuted European Jew is without a home. True. And it is further said: why, then, let Arab Palestine provide him, as Arab Spain did, not only with a shelter, a refuge, but also with a State so that he shall rule over the Arab. How generous! How humanitarian!

"The United Nation Special Committee on Palestine, as we know, in recommendation VII, one of the unanimous recommendations, urged that the General Assembly take up this question of refugees and displaced persons immediately, apart from the problem of Palestine, in order to afford relief to the persecuted Jew so that there should be an alleviation of this humanitarian problem and an alleviation of the Palestinian problem.

"What has this great and august body done in that respect? Sub-committee 2 made a recommendation and drew up a draft resolution on that basis (resolution II, document A/AC.14/32). First, let those Jewish refugees and displaced persons who can be repatriated to their own countries be repatriated; secondly, those who cannot be repatriated should be allotted to Member States in accordance with their capacity to receive such refugees; and, thirdly, a committee should be set up to determine quotas for that purpose.

"The resolution is put forward for consideration. Shall they be repatriated to their own countries? Australia says no; Canada says no; the United States says no. This was very encouraging from one point of view. Let these people, after their terrible experiences, even if they are willing to go back, not be asked to go back to their own countries. In this way, one would be more sure that the second proposal would be adopted and that we should all give shelter to these people. Shall they be distributed among the Member States according to the capacity of the latter to receive them? Australia, an overpopulated small country with congested areas, says no, no, no; Canada, equally congested and overpopulated, says no; the United States, a great humanitarian country, a small area, with small resources, says no. That is their contribution to the humanitarian principle. But they state: let them go into Palestine, where there are vast areas, a large economy and no trouble; they can easily be taken in there.

"That is the contribution taken by this august body to the settlement of the humanitarian principle involved." (Sir Zafrullah Khan's speech on the question of Palestine,

So let us revisit PM Trumble's final paragraph:

"The key role Australia played in ensuring the security and prosperity of the Jewish people should be a source of pride for us all."

If PM Trumble is referring here to Jewish Holocaust survivors in DP camps, most of whom would have gone to the US if given half a chance*, then he's messing with history.

If, on the other hand, he means "the Jewish people" (as in the Balfour Declaration's "a national home for the Jewish people"), that stock standard Zionist ideological construct which supposedly provides the rationale for the Jewish state of Israel, he needs to explain quite why Australians should take "pride" in "ensuring the security and prosperity" of a sectarian, apartheid state founded on the mass dispossession and expulsion of Palestine's indigenous Arab population.

[*See my 4/8/10 post Humanity or Zionism. Just click on the label for Yosef Grodzinsky below.]

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rudd & Netanyahu Cross Swords

The public airing of friction between a foreign head of state, while he is visiting a country, and one of that country's former leaders must surely be unique in the annals of international affairs.

Former Australian PM Kevin Rudd was moved to post the following unprecedented statement on his FB page yesterday:

"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today challenged former Prime Minister Hawke and myself on what sort of Palestinian state we would recommend Israel recognise.

"I have a simple reply to Mr Netanyahu: The boundaries, internal security, external security, public finance and governance of a Palestinian state have been elaborated in detail in multiple negotiations with the US under the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations, most recently in the Kerry Plan. Mr Netanyahu knows these formulations like the back of his hand. Mr Netanyahu also knows he has torpedoed each of them, often at five minutes to midnight, often by changing the goalposts, to the enduring frustration of both Republican and Democrat Administrations.

"I have been a supporter of Israel all my life. And a public campaigner against any form of anti-Semitism. But to support the state of Israel does not mandate automatic support for each and every policy of Mr Netanyahu. The state of Israel and Mr Netanyahu are not co-definitional. That is why I beg to differ on this and other aspects of Mr Netanyahu's policies.

"For example, I also have a simple question for Mr Netanyahu. Will he use this visit to Australia to apologise to the Australian people for his government using forged Australian passports to facilitate an Israeli assassination of a member of Hamas in Dubai?

"No apology has ever been received for that action which had the consequence of putting the integrity of Australian passports and the security of Australian passport holders travelling to the Middle East at risk."