Saturday, March 25, 2017

The ALP: Neither Principles Nor Brains

God I'm tired of the Australian Labor Party. We all know it's as devoid of principles as a fish is of feathers. But principles aside, what about brains?

OK, wrack yours and come up with just one ALP politician since Whitlam who could be said to have even the proverbial half-a-brain.


Maybe Barry Jones, former Science Minister (1983-90) of 'Knowledge Nation' fame, two-time National President of the ALP (1992-2000; 2005-2006, and now Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne comes to mind. Certainly, he's probably the nearest thing to Einstein to emerge from the ranks of the ALP, which, BTW, he joined in 1950.

I note that he recently (2015) appeared on The Conversation arguing that our political system was in crisis in part because of our politicians' refusal to analyse and explain complex problems. So what happens when Labor's supposed Einstein analyses the modern Middle East, which is one of the things he sets out to do in his 2016 book Knowledge, Courage, Leadership, under the heading Middle Eastern horrors?

Short answer: he screws up.

Some examples:

"After Islam swept through the Middle East, then North Africa and Spain... Christian Europe had limited understanding of the Muslim world, and failed to comprehend deep divisions between Sunnis (and the fundamentalist Wahhabi sect) and Sh'ites [sic], sectarian feuds about organisation and authority in Islam and interpretation of the Qu'ran [sic], which began in the generation after Muhammad's death (632)." (p 154)

Hello? The Wahhabis originated in 18th century Arabia.

"Britain resisted attempts to settle in Palestine large numbers of Jews displaced... from Europe in the 1930s, anxious to avoid offering [sic] Arabs and jeopardising access to oil." (p 155)

This statement is wholly incorrect. Following the Balfour Declaration of 1917, Britain oversaw the flooding of Palestine with Zionist settlers from Europe. She only sought to restrict the flow in 1939, after 3 years of Arab rebellion. In the words of the MacDonald White Paper of that year: "[T]he fear of the Arabs that this influx will continue indefinitely until the Jewish population is in a position to dominate them [has] made possible disturbances which have given a serious setback to economic progress, depleted the Palestine exchequer, rendered life and property insecure, and produced a bitterness between the Arab and Jewish populations which is deplorable..." The White Paper announced, therefore, that Jewish immigration into Palestine would henceforth be restricted to 75,000 over the next 5 years, and that after that, Jewish immigrants would only be allowed in with the acquiescence of the Palestinian Arabs.

"The creation of Israel (1948)... was a reaction to the horror and moral abyss of the Holocaust... Israel has been subject to constant threat ever since 1948, but it survives." (p 155)

This is patent nonsense. The Zionist movement had been scheming for the creation of 'Israel' from its inception in the 1890s, long before the Holocaust. The leadership of Palestine's armed Zionist gangs in late 40s Palestine were only interested in Holocaust survivors in so far as they could be used as cannon fodder to help wrest control of Palestine from its majority Arab population. 

And as for "constant threat" and "survival", one merely has to ask:

a) if you muscle in on someone else's patch, what the hell do you expect you're going to get in return, hugs and kisses?

b) if integrity of life and limb are really what matters to you (and who would deny it?) would you rather be an Israeli Jew or a Palestinian Arab?

"The Suez conflict (1916) in which Britain and France invaded Egypt to reclaim the Suez Canal, which had been nationalised by President Nasser." (p 156)

This is like a summary of World War II which mentions only Italy and Japan on the Axis side. The 1956 aggression against Egypt was the result of an Israeli-French-British conspiracy. On October 29, 1956, Israeli forces crossed into Sinai and raced towards the Suez Canal. A combined Anglo-French paratroop unit was dropped onto Port Said a week later, on November 4, prior to a planned advance on Ismailia and Suez.

"In June 1967 ('The Six Day War') Israel defeated invading forces from Egypt, Syria and Jordan." (p 156)

No, this is Israeli folklore. Israel struck the first blow when it attacked the Egyptian air force on the ground in a surprise pre-emptive attack on the morning of 5 June, 1967. This was followed by similar attacks on the Jordanian, Iraqi and Syrian air forces. As Israeli General Peled, Chief of Logistical Command during the war, wrote on 3 June, 1972 in Le Monde: "All those stories about the huge danger we were facing because of our small territorial size, an argument expounded once the war was over, have never been considered in our calculations. While we proceeded towards the full mobilisation of our forces, no person in his right mind could believe that all this force was necessary to our 'defence' against the Egyptian threat. This force was to crush once and for all the Egyptians at the military level and their Soviet masters at the political level. To pretend that the Egyptian forces concentrated on our borders were capable of threatening Israel's existence does not only insult the intelligence of any person capable of analysing this kind of situation, but is primarily an insult to the Israeli army."

Finally, there's this complete gibberish:

"In Jordan, the West funded and encouraged Hezbollah (jihadist + clean) to weaken Hamas (pragmatic + corrupt), presumably hoping that a fractured leadership would be helpful for Israel. Jordan had been essentially secularist but jihadism has become a significant force." (p 156)

To which one can only respond by asking, WTF was going on in his head when he wrote that?

Jones has been in retirement on a fat parliamentary pension for decades now. He has had all the time in the world (and supposedly the brains) to get the basics of modern Middle Eastern history right. If this, then, is the best our Einstein manque can do on the subject, what hope can we possibly expect from such intellectual pygmies as Shorten and crew?


Grappler said...

Totally agree, MERC. What has he been smoking!

The US opposed the invasion of Suez by Israel, Britain and France. In fact, both the Soviet Union and the US opposed it. In fact, it was stopped when Eisenhower threatened to destroy the British financial system by selling sterling bonds.

I may be slightly off here, but I'm sure you will correct me if so, but I believe that no part of the 1967 war was fought inside Israel. Certainly not inside the borders it proclaimed to the UN to achieve recognition. So how could the Arab countries be invading Israel?

Grappler said...

And while we are discussing the 1967 War, the USS Liberty incident rates a mention. At the risk of boring those who are aware, the Israeli Air Force attacked a US ship in the Mediterranean, killing 34 personnel, and injuring 117. The ship, at the time, was in international waters. Survivors have testified that this was no accident and, despite what the Israelis said, could not have been a case of mistaken identity. President Johnson swallowed the Israeli version of events and apart from a measly $9M in compensation Israel suffered no consequences.

Anonymous said...

Truth, always the first casualty of war, or so it seems, also when analysing Israel's role in The Middle East.