Friday, May 25, 2018

Guilty... of Being a Palestinian

Rhetorical question: Could there possibly be a meaner, more miserable bastard in Australian federal politics than Peter Dutton? If further confirmation were needed, here it is:

"Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has intervened to overrule the Administrative Appeals Tribunal after it ruled that a Palestinian man once jailed for belonging to a terrorist group and planning to kill people in an attack inside Israel was entitled to move to Australia on a partner visa. The Australian has confirmed through a departmental source that Mr Dutton has cancelled the visa application of a man known in tribunal documents only as Mr Khalil, after deciding that he posed a threat to Australia's national security.

"The move to veto the AAT followed a review by the minister of a... tribunal ruling that disputed the fairness of the Israeli justice system and rejected a military court's finding that the 30-year-old man from the West Bank was part of a terrorist cell. Yesterday, Mr Dutton attacked the decision of the AAT and accused some of its members of not upholding community standards. He suggested a clean-out of members of the tribunal appointed by the former Rudd and Gillard governments." (Dutton steps in to reject terror cell man's verdict, Simon Benson, The Australian, 24/5/18)

Dutton, btw, was rambammed in 2008.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

As Netanyahu Salivates...

... Israel's most loved US president and his shiny new Christian Zionist Secretary of State are gearing up for a war with Iran:

"When the Trump administration withdrew fro the P5+1 nuclear deal, they began talking about a plan B.' Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has set out the US strategy post-deal this week, threatening the 'strongest sanctions in history' and setting out an incredibly broad set of 12 demands.* Despite Pompeo's insistence that the demands are 'basic requirements,' they are anything but, and analysts and former officials broadly agree that this leaves no room for new diplomacy between the US and Iran. Threats and demands are the tired old US strategy towards Iran, one that has failed for the better part of 40 years.

"The point of this is to go back to the pre-deal situation, when the US was threatening to attack Iran constantly on the slightest pretext. 'Plan B' ultimately has meant setting the stage for a massive US war with Iran. Trita Parsi was quoted as saying that 'plan B' was completely unrealistic and designed to fail, paving the way for 'plan C, which is most likely war.' This is in keeping with virtually everything the administration has said since withdrawing from the deal, and they seem to be laying the groundwork for such a war." (US 'Plan B' with Iran sets the stage for war, Jason Ditz, antiwar.com, 22/5/18)

[*Among them that "Iran withdraw [its] forces from Syria and end support for Hamas and Hezbollah...  Pompeo said... 'We will track down Iranian operatives and their Hezbollah proxies operating around the world and crush them. Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East." (US to 'crush' Iranian operatives, Carol Morello, Washington Post/Sydney Morning Herald, 23/5/18)]

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Another Australian Intellectual Fails the Palestine Test

While Peter Singer parades as an ethicist, he apparently sees no problem in placing Hamas, the Palestinian resistance movement, on the same level as the colonising, apartheid state of Israel - or in flaunting his profound (and inexcusable) ignorance on the Palestine/Israel issue on Monday night's Q & A:

Tony Jones: Now Peter Singer, you've been critical of both Hamas and Israel. So let's hear your...

Peter Singer: Exactly. I am critical of both... and I think the situation is a tragic one and it has resulted in the tragedy that we're talking about this time.

Tragic? It's a massacre, stupid.

But clearly there are extremists on both sides. And, you know, there was hope some years ago, when Rabin was prime minister... But, sadly, he was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli [1995] and hopes for peace went down.

Rabin? An Israeli war criminal:

As a Palmach commander in 1948, Rabin was responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian towns of Ramle and Lydda.

As Israel's chief of staff in 1967, Rabin was asked by Israeli PM Levi Eshkol "what would happen if the Egyptians [then in control of the Gaza Strip] simply marched the [Palestinian] refugees [who had been there since 1948] - women and children in the vanguard - toward the border with Israel. Rabin said they would not do that, and if they did, as soon as the IDF had killed the first 100, the rest would go back to Gaza." (1967: Israel, the War & the Year that Transformed the Middle East, Tom Segev, p 524)

As defence minister in the Shamir government he oversaw Israel's ruthless suppression of the first Palestinian Intifada (1987-1991), with his infamous 'break their bones' policy.

As Israeli prime minister in 1994, following the massacre of 29 Palestinian worshippers in Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque, Rabin had the opportunity to evacuate Hebron's particularly vile Israeli settler community from the city. Instead, in the words of Haaretz journalist Amira Hass, he "decided to continue with the traditional policy of pampering the settlers, and instructed the army to punish the Palestinians for the massacre with a prolonged curfew, restrictions on movement, the closing of shops and marketplaces, and criminal forgiveness for the violence of the settlers." (See my 28/2/15 post An Anti-Semite's Dream Jews.)

It is telling that Singer seems more concerned about the assassination of one Israeli war criminal than he is about the 114 innocent Palestinian civilians murdered on the Gaza border so far.

And since then... both sides have gone to extremes. Certainly, the Israeli government has gone to extremes and has not shown and has not shown signs of really being interested in negotiating peace or stopping settlements.

Negotiating peace or stopping settlements? Since when has any Israeli government been serious about either?

But on the other hand, you have to say, as far as Hamas is concerned... Greg [Sheridan] is right...

Sheridan is right? I can guarantee that Singer has never picked up a copy of the Australian and read any of Sheridan's sermons in praise of what he once called "the plucky country." Not once.

... - they are a terrorist organisation, they are firing rockets into Israel, they are openly trying to kill Israelis where they can, and they did reject offers of cooperation back when Israel left Gaza. So that's tragedy for the people of Gaza. And it's very hard to see a way out.

Terrorist organisation? Offers of cooperation? This is just the kind of stuff you'd expect to hear from your average brainwashed supporter of Israel.

Tony Jones: Let's go to the original question, which was asking about Australia's vote to reject the investigation into an incident which killed a large number of people and wounded thousands. What's your view on that?

Peter Singer: I would have liked to see an investigation, both into why Israel used live fire...

Why Israel used live fire? Seriously, has Israel ever stopped using live fire?

... and could not find a less lethal way of preventing people from attacking and cutting through the fence, but also why Hamas was inviting people to go to the fence when Israel had made it clear that it was going to use force to prevent people, that there clearly was a risk of live ammunition, of people being killed.

More regurgitated Israeli propaganda! Then this:

And why people would go there with their children and babies actually, you know, is mind-boggling to me. What kind of a person would you have to be to say, 'I'm gonna take my baby to this area where there's likely to be firing.'

A little research is apparently beyond Singer: "Leila [al-Ghandour's] family told media that the baby's mother had left the child at home to join the demonstrations. When the infant began crying her uncle took her towards the protest area in order to locate his sister. Reports on Palestinian social media said Leila had been in a tent away from the security fence when a tear gas canister was dropped by a drone." (Gaza protests: Eight-month-old baby 'dies from tear gas inhalation' after 'massacre' at border, Bethan McKernan, independent.co.uk, 15/5/18)

(APPLAUSE)

Bloody idiots...

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hamas & the Great March of Return:

Israeli PR always goes into overdrive after its killers complete their latest massacre(s). As with the massacre on the Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara in 2010, clipped, edited videos, sound-bytes, and texts appear in record time, constituting a smokescreen of victim-blaming. The aim, of course. is both to provide Israel's defenders with suitable talking points and to divert world public opinion from the bleeding obvious.

Hot off the presses is the following item, now flooding the internet and popping up in the msm rants of the pro-Israel pundits. Here it is, for example, in the always purple prose of our very own Piers Akerman: "[T]he ABC's attempted whitewash of the nature of the terrorist attack was demonstratively undermined by the co-founder of Hamas Mahmoud al-Zahar who told Al-Jazeera that the terror group was 'deceiving the public' when it spoke of 'peaceful resistance' before the violent protests began." (ABC hits a new low in biased reporting, Sunday Telegraph, 20/5/18)

Here's the original, as translated and edited by Israel's Middle East Research Institute (MEMRI), an outfit that trawls the Arabic-language media, searching for items with potential (along with some judicious translating, cutting and pasting) for use as anti-Arab propaganda:

Host: Mr Mahmoud Abbas said that after all these years, Hamas is employing the same peaceful resistance that has been advocated by Fatah since day one and for many years. So why don't Fatah and Hamas agree on a united platform?

Mahmoud Al-Zahhar: This is a clear terminological deception. When you are in possession of weapons that were able to withstand the occupation in the wars of 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2014... When you have weapons that are being wielded by men who were able to prevent the strongest army in the region from entering the Gaza Strip for 51 days, and were able to capture or kill soldiers of that army, is this really 'peaceful resistance'? This is not peaceful resistance. Has the option (of armed struggle) diminished? No. On the contrary, it is growing and developing. That's clear. So when we talk about 'peaceful resistance', we are deceiving the public. This is a peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies, and enjoying tremendous popular support. As for (Fatah's) 'peaceful resistance', it consists of rallies, demonstrations, protests, pleas, and requests, in order to improve the terms of the negotiations, or to enable talks with the Israeli enemy. This deception does not fool the Palestinian public. (Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar on Gaza protests: This is not peaceful resistance, it is supported by our weapons, memri.org, 13/5/18)

Assuming that we accept the veracity of MEMRI's translation and editing of the Al-Jazeera original, the first thing to note here is that Al-Zahar's words should be seen in the context of Hamas's rivalry with the Palestinian Authority and Abbas's Fatah organisation. One of the key differences between the two is that Hamas is still committed to the strategy of armed struggle against the Israeli enemy, while Fatah is not. Al-Zahar here is doing no more than defend the use of arms vis-a-vis Fatah's abandonment of them for 'peaceful resistance'. The "we" of the highlighted sentence above is somewhat ambiguous (perhaps even made so by the MEMRI translator), but seems to refer more to Abbas than to Hamas. It is Abbas then, not Hamas, who is "deceiving the public." In fact, in the very next sentence Al-Zahar says, "[T]his [the Great March of Return] is a peaceful protest... enjoying tremendous popular support," albeit "bolstered by a military force," none of which was used during the demonstrations. The concluding sentence makes crystal clear just whose deception we are dealing with here - Abbas's: "This deception does not fool the Palestinian public."

Monday, May 21, 2018

Simply the Best, Better than All the Rest

"Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese has indicated Labor would have split from the US and backed a United Nations investigation into the killing of dozens of Palestinians in Gaza, arguing Israel's actions were damaging the country's reputation." (Albanese demands vote explanation, Michael Koziol, Sydney Morning Herald, 21/5/18)

Really, if damage to Israel's reputation is Albanese's best argument for Australia voting (in the UNHRC) for an investigation into Israel's latest massacres of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, I'd hate to think what his worst might be.

Dennis the Zionist Menace

Dennis Ross, you may remember, was Bill Clinton's Middle East 'peace' envoy. Mearsheimer and Walt see him as an integral of Israel's lobby in the United States, noting that, although Ross has "occasionally criticized specific Israeli actions," he "believes that the United States should give Israel substantial diplomatic, economic, and military support even when Israel takes actions the United States opposes" and that he "has devoted a significant amount of his professional life to encouraging this sort of support." (The Israel Lobby & US Foreign Policy, 2007, p 114)

Little wonder then at the Israel first content of his near 2-page spread in Saturday's Australian. Some gems - rebutted:

"The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is essentially one of two national movements competing for the same space."

No it isn't. The 'conflict' is essentially one of an indigenous people, denied self-determination in its ancestral home by the British, then set upon, driven out, or otherwise occupied, by a European settler-colonial movement - Zionism - introduced and fostered by the British." (Give them hope & peace, 19/5/18)

"In my talk [in 2005 to a few hundred Palestinians in Gaza before the Israeli withdrawal], I said that Palestinians had never been able to control their own destiny - the Arabs determined what would be done in 1948."

What rubbish! A US-manipulated UNGA set the scene in 1947 by disregarding the right of the Palestinians to determine the fate of their country and partitioning it into a Jewish and an Arab states. This, of course, gave the Zionist forces in Palestine the pretext they needed to overrun as much of Palestine as they could, and drive out as many Palestinians as they could, without any regard whatever for the borders laid down by the UN partition plan.

"Hamas said the protests would be peaceful even as it called them Demonstrations for Return - return to Palestinian homes in Israel."

To begin with, Hamas didn't organise the protests. And there is here the incredible suggestion that merely calling for the right of the Palestinians to return to the homes and lands stolen from them by Israel in 1948, and mobilising protests in support of that right, is enough to render those protests not peaceful.

"But, of course, those being mobilised don't have homes to go back to in Israel... "

And why is that Mr Ross?

"... and Israel is not the country it was in 1948."

Well, ain't that a COMPELLING reason for the Palestinians to kept in their Gaza Ghetto box?

"Hamas's leaders [want] to stigmatise Israel before the world as a way of also weakening Israel's ability to engage in self-defense and discredit it internationally."

So let me get this straight. Gunning down defenceless Palestinian protesters (we won't even mention journalists) with sniper rifles is self defence. And it's the protesters, not Israel's own actions, who are discrediting Israel. Right...

Ross pees on us but would have us think it's raining.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Gideon Levy: 'Israel is Set to Commit Horrors'

The next Nakba:

"The truth is that Israel is well prepared to massacre hundreds and thousands, and to expel tens of thousands. Nothing will stop it. This is the end of conscience, the show of morality is over. The last few days' events have proved it decisively. The tracks have been laid, the infrastructure for the horror has been cast. Dozens of years of brainwashing, demonization and dehumanization have borne fruit. The alliance between the politicians and the media to suppress reality and deny it has succeeded. Israel is set to commit horrors. Nobody will stand in its way anymore. Not from within or without." (From 60 dead in Gaza & the end of Israeli conscience, Haaretz, 17/5/18)

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Israel's Contractors in the UN

The UN Human Rights Council has just voted (29 to 2, with 14 abstentions) for a Commission of Inquiry into Israel's 2018 massacres in Gaza.

It's important to know who those 2 are - the United States, predictably, and a certain other shitty little settler-colonial state known as Australia.

Of the 14 abstentions, the stand-out has to be the UK, which single-handedly created the Palestine problem over 100 years ago and, to this day, not only accepts no responsibility for its worst ever colonial crime, but chooses to avert its gaze from the latest killing spree by that shitty little settler-colonial, apartheid state in the Middle East known as Israel.

Well said:

"This was a chance to put principle before politics and Australia blew it. This was not about targeting Israel but targeting human rights violations. When security forces opened fire on protesters who pose no imminent threat, they must be held to account." Elaine Pearson, Human Rights Watch Australian director

Friday, May 18, 2018

Meanwhile, Back in the Sheridan Bubble

The Australian's foreign editor (and Tony Abbott's childhood bestie), Greg Sheridan, knows what "most people" don't:

"Donald Trump's move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is right in principle and will contribute to the cause of peace in the Middle East, though not in the way that most people think." (Trump injects some realism into Middle East, The Australian, 17/5/18)

(Err... so "most people" think it "right in principle" and that it "will contribute to the cause of peace"? OH, REALLY?)

But moving right along, the answer is:

"... because it recognises reality and communicates an important message to the Palestinian leadership - that they do not have a veto over any aspect of the US relationship with Israel, or of international moves generally relating to Israel."

Damn! And we (like the Palestinians of course) have been labouring under the illusion that they did have such a veto! Who'd have thought?

But those revelations from the Sheridan bubble are not what I wanted to highlight today. It's this one:

"No one thinks they can reverse the population movements that took place between India and Pakistan 70 years ago." Ergo, the Palestinian right of return is simply unrealistic.

First, the clear differences between the two events. All Indian parties (Nehru's Congress Party most reluctantly and Jinnah's Muslim League enthusiastically) consented to partition. The Palestinians did not. It was imposed on them by a UNGA bullied by the US into voting for it. Moreover, in India at the time both Hindus and Muslims were indigenous to the country, while in Palestine the indigenous population were facing a takeover of their homeland by a settler-colonial minority.

But the big problem with Sheridan's assertion is that, unlike India, Israel encourages immigration. Of Jews only, of course. Ergo, if it can find room for more and more Jews from wherever (not to mention 'lost tribes' from India, no less!), it's got no excuse for excluding indigenous Palestinian refugees. Other than racism, that is.

Bubble popped.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Cynical Alliance

Unfortunately, the bizarre phenomenon of Christian Zionism rarely makes it into the ms press, but since Christian Zionist kooks Robert Jeffress and John Hagee were an integral part of the recently concluded Barbie and Ken Kushner Doll gig in Jerusalem, they could hardly not get a mention somewhere in the reportage:

"On Monday, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and other leading lights of the Trumpist right gathered in Israel to celebrate the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, a gesture widely seen as a slap in the face to Palestinians who envision East Jerusalem as their future capital. The event was grotesque. It was a consummation of the cynical alliance between hawkish Jews and Zionist evangelicals who believe that the return of Jews to Israel will usher in the apocalypse and the return of Christ, after which Jews who don't convert will burn forever. Religions like 'Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism' lead people 'to an eternity of separation from God in Hell', Robert Jeffress, a Dallas megachurch pastor, once said. He was chosen to give the opening prayer at the embassy ceremony. John Hagee, one of America's most prominent end-times preachers, once said that Hitler was sent by God to drive the Jews to their ancestral homeland. He gave the closing benediction." (A grotesque spectacle and a Trump Square, Michelle Goldberg, New York Times/Sydney Morning Herald, 16/5/18)

(Goldberg's veiled terminology, "hawkish Jews and Zionist evangelicals" is curious. What's wrong with 'Zionist Jews and Christian Zionists'?)

Hagee, of course, is the high priest of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), hatched in Israel in 2005 and launched in the US in 2006. CUFI is "geared towards co-ordinating the efforts of America's myriad Christian Zionist groups and persuading the US administration to, in Hagee's words, 'stop pressuring Israel to give up land for peace'," and "would function as a Christian Zionist lobbying group on Capitol Hill." (Allies for Armageddon: The Ride of Christian Zionism, Victoria Clark, 2007, p 221)

To give you some idea of how a CUFI gig goes, here's Clark again:

"'God TV' was broadcasting the entire occasion live, worldwide. [Hagee] had video footage of the [Israeli] Vice-Prime-Minister Shimon Peres describing his activities on Israel's behalf as 'the best help Israel could have hoped for', and some more, of Benjamin Netanyahu, reminding everyone that 'the rise of the Jewish state would not have been possible without Christian Zionism'.  To cap it all, he had cheques totalling $7 million to donate to worthy Israeli causes, including half a million for the West Bank settlement of Ariel, a million for Jewish immigration from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, and $3 million for an orphanage. And, as if all that weren't enough, he had a packed programme of entertainment in store for us. It kicked off with the 'Star Spangled Banner' and the Hatikvah, but that was only the start. Dancers dressed in stetsons, Davy Crockett hats and red neckerchiefs cavorted about the stage singing 'Next Year in Jerusalem'. Hagee Junior sang us a 'song of Zion'. Two soldiers, one in US army camouflage, the other wearing a prayer shawl over his uniform, walked to centre-stage, shook hands and embraced. The auditorium lights went off and the entire choir processed around the church with candles, while a God-like, disembodied voice boomed 'Every drop of Jewish blood is sacred'. Diana Hagee made a brief appearance dressed in the colours of the Israeli flag." (p 282)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Ziobabbling Away

Zionist propaganda has been around for as long as perfidious Albion opened the door of poor, unsuspecting Ottoman Palestine to the Zionist hordes in 1918 and held it open for them for the next 30 years. And since then, that is since 1948, it has reached the veritable crescendo proportions we see today, with all the old propaganda tropes trotted out again and again, or merely updated for the times.

In short, there really is no excuse whatever these days for anyone with a pretense to journalistic integrity uncritically regurgitating this nonsense in the way the Sydney Morning Herald's editorialist has today. Here's the editorial's opening paragraph:

"Consider how much Israel had to celebrate on the occasion of its 70th anniversary this week. The achievements are impressive almost everywhere you look - in agriculture, science and innovation, medicine and technology and in the living standards Israel offers its citizens. Above all, Israel has created a vibrant liberal democracy in a region where autocracy and theocracy are the norm." (More pain in Gaza amid celebrations)

I'm sorry, but what half sentient being would bother reading on (and what follows is none too flash) after that?

Bishop & Wong on Gaza Massacres

Vile doesn't begin to describe this tweet by Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop:

"We express our deep regret and sadness over loss of life and injury during #Gaza protests. Australia urges Palestinian protesters to refrain from violence. Israel should be proportionate in response." (15/5)

And piss weak doesn't begin to describe this one from Australian shadow foreign minister Penny Wong:

"The deaths and injuries of Palestinian protesters in Gaza overnight are both shocking and tragic." (15/5)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Today's Australian Protests for Palestine

60 defenceless Palestinian protesters were martyred yesterday, and 2,771 wounded, in Israel's 70-year-old Gaza Ghetto by US-backed, -financed, and -armed Zionist fanatics.

Why?

For simply upholding Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country."

PROTEST this latest Israeli massacre today.

Adelaide: Parliament House steps 5pm
Brisbane: King George Square 5.30pm
Hobart: Parliamentary Lawns 5.30pm
Melbourne: State Library 9.30am-1.30pm
Sydney: Sydney Town Hall 6.30pm

The Battle for Balmain

Like, O WOW. Just WOW:

"It's been seven long years since NSW Labor surrendered a treasured slice of its historical heartland to the Greens. Destined to be billed as the Battle for Balmain... the state election campaign of 2019 is shaping up as another litmus test for the parties' respective claims to the area as 'heartland' country. Labor invested its hopes in a fresh face, untainted by the scandals of its dying days in power, which saw it removed from government in 2011. Over the next year, Elly Howse - a 29-year-old feminist, inner west local and public health PhD student - will attempt to pull off a feat that has so far proved impossible for even veteran politicians. NSW Labor has never taken back a seat off the Greens once they have lost it." (Battle for Balmain as Labor places faith in young gun candidate, Lisa Visentin, Sydney Morning Herald, 14/5/18)

What's not to like? Go, Elly Howse!

Oh, wait a minute...

"Student recipients of the Rambam Fellowship come from Liberal, Labor Right, and Labor Left factions. For members of Labor Left who accept the Fellowship, the matter is particularly complicated as their actions contradict the faction's stance against Israel's occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. Former USYD SRC President and recipient of the Rambam Fellowship Elly Howse was said to have taken part in a sponsored trip with strong anti-Zionist views, but returned home more sympathetic to Israel. Honi was unable to reach Howse for comment." (NUS Israel trips are no spiritual pilgrimage, Rafi Alam & Xiaoran Shi, Honi Soit, 19/8/13) (See my 1/10/13 post A Transformative Experience.)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Some Things Never Change

Yesterday, I quoted the lies of the Zionist fanatic Arthur Koestler back in 1949 to the effect that Israel had a virgin birth in 1948, untainted by any responsibility for the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. You'd think that by now - 2018 - with the wealth of evidence to the contrary uncovered by Israeli historians in Zionist archives, that'd be the end of the matter.

But then what's 'evidence to the contrary' to a Zionist fanatic?

"Then we had Randa Abdel-Fattah... who peddles the falsehood that Israel's establishment created 750,000 Arab refugees." (Sydney Writers Festival needs to right a few wrongs, Vic Alhadeff, The Australian, 12/5/18)

Alhadeff is the chief executive officer of the Jewish Board of Deputies.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Israel: Founded on a Pack of Lies

Brace yourselves, you'll be hearing a lot from the msm this week about Israel's so-called 70th 'Independence Day'.

Oliver Holmes' piece in the Guardian on Arthur Koestler, 'Stubbornly fighting for life': how Arthur Koestler reported the birth of Israel, notes that "Seventy years ago, Israel declared independence, and the Manchester Guardian sent the leftwing intellectual to cover the nascent state. But was he an altogether accurate witness?"

Since he was a hottie for Zionism at the time, the bleeding obvious answer would, of course, be a resounding no:

"Koestler began his Israel dispatches," writes Holmes, "in deserted Haifa... where, weeks before his arrival, he reported that most of the port city's 70,000 Arabs had fled amid fierce fighting with Jewish forces. Koestler's take was that 'it fell because the Arab population, though only slightly inferior in numbers and superior in arms, were utterly demoralised through the desertion of their leaders.' The Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary organisation that went on to become the Israel Defense Forces, had broadcast in Arabic the names of the deserters to demoralise the Arab gunmen, he wrote."

In short, Koestler was to the rabidly Zionist Manchester Guardian what Greg Sheridan is to the rabidly Zionist Australian," and his 'reporting' helped create the Zionist myth that, far from being the victims of a Zionist campaign of ethnic cleansing, the Palestinian refugees were responsible for their own plight.

Holmes goes on: "Arabs featured only occasionally in Koestler's articles. 'The native Palestine Arabs,' he said, 'never fought seriously because they had no reason for fighting, having accepted the presence of the Jews with its economic benefit and the de facto partition as accomplished facts.' Travelling down the coastal road from Haifa to Tel Aviv, Koestler said his view was 'confirmed' by Arab farmers in Israel who he said were 'unmolested' while being treated 'with equanimity and trading produce with Jews'. It was not clear if he stopped to speak to them."

Unfortunately, that was the least of Koestler's lies. The following, from Koestler's Promise & Fulfilment (1949), combines Zionist lies with what must surely be the most venomous contempt for the Palestinian victims of Zionist ethnic cleansing ever penned by a journalist at the time:

"A few villages along the road are still populated by Arabs. Some of them are even working in the fields; and a little withered Arab woman is selling oranges to Jewish soldiers out of a basket on her back... But not for long. A few weeks later some Arab lads will start sniping from these villages at Jewish trucks on the road; the Jewish army will herd the villagers together, dynamite their houses, and put the young men into concentration camps; while the old ones will tie a mattress and a brass coffee-pot on the donkey, the old woman will walk ahead leading the donkey by the rein and the old man will ride on it, wrapped in his kefiye, and sunk in solemn meditation about the lost opportunity of raping his youngest grandchild." (pp 199-200)

Fortunately, at least one Zionist writer at the time, S. Yizhar, wrote honestly about Israel's crimes against the Palestinian Arabs in 1948. Yizhar's 1949 novella, Khirbet Khizah, completely destroys the myth that the Palestinians left their ancestral homes and lands for any other reason than to avoid being murdered by marauding Zionist terrorist gangs, bent on seizing control of as much of Palestine - without Palestinians - as they could get away with at the time. (78% as it happens!)

The Khirbet Khizah of the title is a fictional Palestinian village, typifying the fate of the hundreds of Palestinian villages ethnically cleansed and destroyed by Israeli forces in 1948:

"Yes, alas, of course - that was it! Why hadn't I thought of it from the start? Khirbet Khizah was ours. There were the questions of housing and immigrant absorption! Hurray for housing and absorption, in spades: We'll open a canteen, set up a school, and maybe a synagogue. Political parties will come here, and argue about all sorts of things. They'll seed and cultivate the fields, and grow crops. The Hebrew Khirbet Khizah! And who will remember that there was once here that other Khirbet Khizah, from which we evicted and inherited? We came, we shot, we burned, we blew up, we repulsed and shoved off, and we drove into exile. What the hell are we doing in this place?"

Saturday, May 12, 2018

No, No, Babette

She was born in India, but lives in Toorak, Melbourne. She's pro-life, and she haunts the letters page of Murdoch's Australian. Her name is Babette Francis.

Now, despite the fact that in the land of her birth 3 teenage girls have been raped and burned alive just this past week, Babette's got her knickers in a knot over women in... Iran. Enjoy:

"Heading my list of Mother's Day gifts is for democracy in Iran and freedom for Iranian women from the compulsory wearing of the oppressive hijab. Each week I receive an email from an Iraqi [!!!] man listing all the human rights violations, tortures and executions in Iran. I feel helpless about doing anything to relieve this suffering. All I can do is to pass on the information to Julie Bishop in the hope that she will call the Iranian ambassador and ask for explanations. Donald Trump is correct in assuming that a regime that does not allow its women to uncover their heads is unlikely to uncover its secret progress towards developing nuclear weapons." 

MSM: Echo Chamber for Israeli Propaganda

The old 'Arabs strike/Israel retaliates' propaganda meme strikes again:

"Distorting the timelines of events is a longtime Israeli strategy to make its enemies look like the aggressors and pass itself off as the victim. Israel's massive aerial attacks earlier today on [alleged]* Iranians and Syrians - its most extensive cross-border strikes in decades - are carrying out this propaganda strategy to perfection...

"Here's the actual order of events: Just one hour after Donald Trump violated the Iran nuclear deal on May 8, Israel launched missiles against targets south of Damascus, Syria, reportedly killing 15 people, at least 8 of them [allegedly] Iranians.

"In response, Iran early this morning apparently struck back with 20 rockets aimed at the Golan Heights (which is occupied by Israel since 1967 but is still legally part of Syria).

"Hours later, Israeli warplanes attacked dozens of allegedly Iranian targets in Syria.

"The mainstream Western media is falling into Israel's propaganda trap. Most reports are treating the Iranian rockets as the original provocation, and framing Israel's massive air strikes as the (understandable) response... (Israel distorts timeline of events to play victim in the dangerous escalation with Iran and Syria, James North, mondoweiss.net, 10/5/18)

North illustrates with reference to the NYT, WAPO and BBC, but the same formula is used in The Australian/AP of 11/5/18:

"Israel yesterday attacked 'dozens' of  [alleged] Iranian targets in neighbouring Syria in response to an [alleged] Iranian rocket barrage on Israeli positions in the [Israeli-occupied] Golan Heights... " (Israel hammers Iran in Syria)

(NB: The initial Israeli provocation isn't mentioned until paragraph 10: "Israel is suspected of striking an Iranian outpost near Damascus late on Tuesday, killing 15 people, at least 8 of them Iranians."

And in the Sydney Morning Herald/Reuters of the same date:

"Confrontation between Israel and [alleged] Iranian forces sharply escalated yesterday after [alleged] Iranian forces launched a rocket attack on Israeli army bases in the [Israeli-occupied] Golan Heights, Israel said, prompting one of the heaviest Israeli barrages in Syria since the conflict there began in 2011." (Rocket duel sends loud message, Stephen Farrell)

(NB: The initial Israeli provocation isn't mentioned until paragraph 17.)

[*My square brackets throughout.]

Friday, May 11, 2018

Don't Mention the Israel Lobby

The Sydney Morning Herald's international editor, Peter Hartcher, has no difficulty being objective about the US. Now that it has pulled out of its international agreement with Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the EU, enshrined in UNSC resolution 2231, he declares: "Trump's America has just become a rogue nation." (New world order: US goes rogue over Iran deal, 10/5/18)

(Leave aside the word "just.")

What exactly, according to Hartcher, are the forces at work in the US that have brought about this withdrawal?

He pays lip service to the deal's "unpopularity with Republican voters" (as if they spend their every waking moment worrying about what Iran is or isn't up to) and to Trump's inability to think straight "on even the weightiest of matters." And then there's this quite casual observation:

"The Iran deal has been opposed vociferously by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and he carries much of the US Republican Party with him."

Could this then be the real reason for the withdrawal? A foreign power, referred to by Hartcher merely as a "US ally" (but never, God forbid, a "rogue nation") has the Republicans by the balls? And this while Trump, as Hartcher acknowledges, "doesn't care about the interests of America's allies," Britain, France and Germany?

Is this not a most extraordinary state of affairs?

Then why has Hartcher avoided writing about it all these years?

Justin Raimondo could have had the likes of Hartcher in mind when he wrote the following:

"Let's drop the pretenses and tell it like it really is: this is being done for the benefit of Bibi Netanyahu and his amen corner in the United States. For all the brouhaha about foreign influence in American politics, the pundits are eerily silent as the Israel lobby succeeds in an all out effort to drag us into their conflict with Iran. The 'special relationship' has gotten much more special in recent months, according to reports. Trump recently sent Ivanka and Jared to Israel to inaugurate the opening of the Jerusalem embassy, with casino billionaire and pro-Israel fanatic Sheldon Adelson in tow. Adelson gave millions to the Trump campaign and the GOP. While Trump rose to power as a critic of the Iraq war, and, by implication, George W. Bush's Israel-centric foreign policy, he has now positioned himself to replicate Dubya's mistakes - times ten." (From Iran deal exit: America first, or Israel first? antiwar.com, 10/5/18)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

When Arabs Vote...

When next you hear the empty boast* that Israel is the Middle East's only democracy, consider its sabre-rattling response to Lebanon's perfectly democratic vote on the weekend, giving Hezbollah and its Christian allies over half the seats in Lebanon's parliamentary elections:

"Hezbollah=Lebanon. The state of Israel will not differentiate between the sovereign State of Lebanon and Hezbollah, and will view Lebanon as responsible for any action from within its territory." (Israeli education minister Naftali Bennett, quoted in Hezbollah allies set for parliament gains, Tom Perry, Reuters/Sydney Morning Herald, 8/5/18)

IOW, Lebanon must be collectively punished for voting the wrong way.

Just as the Palestinians were following their perfectly democratic vote in 2006, which led to Hamas's overwhelming victory over the corrupt Fatah - by withholding Palestinian tax and customs revenues collected from Palestinian importers; by closing the Karni crossing, the major pipeline for food and industry supplies into Gaza (or, as Sharon adviser Dov Weisglass infamously referred to it, "putting the Palestinians on a diet."); and by refusing to allow newly elected Palestinian officials to travel from Gaza to the West Bank.

[*See my 1/12/16 post Israel is a Democracy & Other Fairy Tales.]

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Don't Mention Israel

The Guardian 'explains' why Trump - who couldn't find Iran on a map of the world even if he wanted to wipe it off said map - wants the Iran nuclear deal scrapped:

"Trump believes the agreement is a bad deal, which falls short of addressing Iran's regional behaviour or its missile program. He is emboldened by a group of Iran hawks in his inner circle, such as the national security adviser, John Bolton, and the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo. Critics also say it is another example of Trump dismantling Barack Obama's legacy - the Iran deal was his signature foreign policy achievement." (The Iran deal explained: what is it and why does trump want to scrap it? Saeed Kamali Dehghan, 9/5/18)

"Trump believes..."? In Trump. Full stop. End of story.

Now note how coy the Guardian is on the subject of Bolton and Pompeo. "Iran hawks" doesn't begin to do justice to either.

I've already sketched the former's Zio-con affiliations (AEI/PNAC/JINSA/ZOA) in my 28/3/18 post Bolton Out of the Blue. But there's a further, loopier dimension to this rabid warmonger: "Bolton was shepherded into politics by Senator Jesse Helms, a passionate Christian Zionist and a hero of Jerry Fallwell's, who once admiringly described Bolton as 'the kind of man with whom I would want to stand at Armageddon...'" (Allies for Armageddon: The Rise of Christian Zionism, Victoria Clark, 2007, p 250)

If Bolton lies at the interface between the US Zio-cons and its Trumpist Christian Zionist hordes, Evangelical Islamophobe Pompeo is, it seems, the real Christian Zionist deal:

"The threat to America is from people who deeply believe that Islam is the way and the light and the only answer. They abhor Christians and will continue to press against us until we make sure that we pray and stand and fight and make sure we know that Jesus Christ as our savior is truly the only solution for the world." (Pompeo in 2014, quoted in Bolton & Pompeo comments on Islam alarm American Muslims, Tom Gjelten, npr.org, 6/4/18)

"This evil [Islam] is all around us. We will continue to fight these battles. It is a never-ending struggle... until the rapture." (Pompeo in 2015, speaking at the Summit Church's God & Country Rally.)

Certainly, Netanyahu is the only political leader anywhere on the planet in raptures over Trump's latest move, but, hey, don't expect the Guardian to factor that into its pathetic little explainer.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

This is a Revelation?

"As a reporter in Israel, I have interviewed hundreds of people in its intelligence and defense establishments and studied thousands of classified documents that revealed a hidden history, surprising even in the context of Israel's already fierce reputation. Many of the people I spoke to, in explaining why they did what they did, would simply cite the Babylonian Talmud: 'If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.' In my reporting, I found that since World War II, Israel has used assassination and targeted-killing more than any other country in the West, in many cases endangering the lives of civilians." (How Arafat eluded Israel's assassination machine, Ronen Bergman, nytimes.com, 23/1/18)

Monday, May 7, 2018

From the Yemeni Frying Pan into the US Fire

When the Weekend Australian devotes an entire page to the promotion of a Sydney Writers Festival participant (no, not Junot Diaz) as it did on Saturday you've got to wonder just what's in it for the dark side. The writer's name is Mohammed Al Samawi and the feature is titled Finding common ground.

 Here's the subtitle:

"A liberating friendship overthrows the anti-Jewish bigotry of a young Yemeni."

Here's the footnote:

"Mohammed Al Samawi appears at the Sydney Writers Festival today at at Melbourne Jewish Book Week tomorrow."

And here's the Australian's introduction:

"Mohammed al Sabawi, a Zaydi Shia Muslim, was born in... the old Yemeni city of Sanaa. He describes a childhood in which Jews were demonised. His life changed as a young adult when he became active in dialogue between Muslims and Jews. Following death threats from his compatriots, he fled Yemen and eventually escaped to the US, where he lectures in inter-faith issues."

Is it just me, or do you come away from those snippets with the indelible feeling that Yemen is about to be exposed as a hotbed of frothing, foaming anti-Semitism?

The feature is described as "an edited extract from the memoir The Fox Hunt by Mohammed Al Samawi, published this week by Scribe ($35)."

The edited extract is divided into 3, headed: Age 9, Age 14, and Age 23, presumably containing the most egregious examples of "anti-Jewish bigotry" that Yemen has to offer.

And yet Age 9 doesn't even mention Jews.

Age 14 does, however. The context is his viewing of television footage of the 2000 Gaza Strip death of the Palestinian child Mohammed ad-Durrah, who, along with his father, "pressed up against a stone wall, huddling behind some curved protrusion," was trying in vain to dodge a hail of Israeli bullets.

Al Sabawi's teacher is reported as saying of this: "This is what they do. They murder the innocent. What had this boy done? Why did he have to die? Because he is Palestinian? Because he is a Muslim? Because Jews have no mercy? Yes. Yes. Yes."

Comments Al Samawi, "That boy could have been us. I'd heard for years that the Jews in Israel killed children indiscriminately if it advanced their aims."

Is this the "anti-Jewish bigotry" and "demonisation" of Jews which the Australian has led us to believe Al Samawi's book is all about?

Surely not. Are we really supposed to believe that Al Sabawi's teacher, when he uses the term 'Jews', means all Jews? As opposed to the Zionists who carved out a Jewish state in the name of a mythical Jewish people in Palestine, and who always referred to themselves, and still do, as Jews vis-a-vis Arabs?

And as for "Jews in Israel" shooting those same Arabs, including over 2,177 children since the year 2000, "indiscriminately if it advanced their aims," couldn't the maintenance of a Jewish majority in Palestine conceivably be one of those aims? (See my 28/4/18 post The Truth about the Gaza Ghetto Massacres.)

No, you'd be stretching it to find much in the way of "anti-Semitic bigotry" here.

What about Age 23 then?

"We'd been taught that the Christian Bible was a holy work, but that over time Jewish scholars had altered it... They removed the Prophet Mohammed from the Bible and they tried to erase Allah."

"Anti-Jewish bigotry" to be sure, but is that it? Is that the worst the Australian can come up with in Al Samawi's book? I feel sort of short-changed.

Yemeni religious obscurantists are pikers compared to the good old-fashioned anti-Muslim bigotry of America's millions of Israel-blessing, Trump-voting, Rapture-ready, Armageddon Now! Christian Zionist zombies. Imagine Al Samawi in interfaith dialogue with Hal Lindsey, author of the best-selling, seminal Christian Zionist rant, The Late Great Planet Earth (1970):

"Lindsey now admits to feeling shocked dismay at Sharon's voluntary withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in July 2005, at his willingness to part with what Bible-believers know to be land promised to the Jews. How to account for such a flagrant flouting of God's will? Lindsey does his best: 'Sharon came up with a plan I believe. He knew that there was one thing he could count on, that the Palestinians would keep on with their terrorism. He gave them their freedom because he knew what they would do with it. Now he knows he's got a target-rich environment there in Gaza - they're all in one place!' His cruel vision of a Palestinian turkey shoot is met by a burst of applause. 'That's right on!' someone shouts.

"The hostess of the event, Jan Markell, joins Hal on the podium and they settle themselves on high stools with microphones in their hands, as if they might croon an evangelical hymn together. But this is a question and answer session. Jan - a Jewish convert to Christianity with her own syndicated radio show and an Internet ministry devoted, like Hal's, to analysing 'current events from a biblical and prophetic perspective' - kicks it off by asking Hal whether the United States or Israel will neutralise the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.

"After carefully opining that the current situation in Iraq would make opening another front in Iran difficult right now, Lindsey insists that he loves President George W. Bush as a fellow bible-believing Christian, but heartily wishes he understood prophecy well enough to realise that Islam is 'violent to the core' and go ahead and open that new front. When Jan prods him again for a prediction about Israel's role vis-a-vis Iran, Lindsey reveals that 'good friends in the Israeli air force' have told him that Israel is ready and willing to take on Iran. 'You can count on it - if someone else doesn't do it, Israel will,' he says.

"Jan Markell is just as troubled by the threat posed by another Muslim neighbour of Israel - Syria. Inviting the audience to open their bibles at Isaiah 17: 1, Lindsey reads aloud: '"An oracle concerning Damascus. Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city, and will become a heap of ruins..." My opinion is that Damascus will be destroyed before the Rapture...'

"'By Israel?' prompts Jan again.

"'By Israel. Syria's a troublemaker, a terrorist headquarters, and the prime reason why our troops are in such trouble in Iraq. I wish the US would obliterate Syria and not leave it to Israel...'" (Allies for Armageddon: The Rise of Christian Zionism, Victoria Clark, 2007, pp 152-53)

If the following 14/4/18 tweet of Al Samawi is any guide, he'll be a pushover for Lindsey: "The problem was in Gaddafi, they killed him but they also destroyed Libya, same thing with Saleh in Yemen and Saddam in Iraq. The US trying to rid of dictators without educating people first about democracy or creating generations that can replace dictators."

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Gideon Levy: 'Habash Was Right'

One of Gideon Levy's best essays: This biography makes it clear: The founder f the Palestinian Popular Front was right (Haaretz, 15/4/18):

"George Habash was Israel's absolute enemy for decades, the embodiment of evil, the devil incarnate. Even the title 'Dr.' before his name - he was a pediatrician - was considered blasphemous. Habash was plane hijackings, Habash was terror and terror alone. In a country that doesn't recognize the existence of Palestinian political parties (have you ever heard of a Palestinian political party? - there are only terror groups) knowledge about the man who headed the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine was close to zero. What's there to know about him? A terrorist. Subhuman. Should be killed. Enemy. The fact that he was an ideologue and a revolutionary, that his life was shaped by the expulsion from Lod, changed nothing. He remains the plane hijacker from Damascus, the man from the Rejectionist front who was no different from all the rest of the 'terrorists' from Yasser Arafat to Wadi Haddad to Nayef Hawatmeh.

"Now along comes Eli Galia's Hebrew-language book 'George Habash: A Political Biography.' It outlines the reality, far from the noise of propaganda, ignorance and brainwashing, for the Israeli reader who agrees to read a biography of the enemy. Presumably only a few will read it, but this work by Galia, a Middle East affairs expert, is very deserving of praise. It's a political biography, as noted in its subtitle, so it almost entirely lacks the personal, spiritual and psychological dimension; there's not even any gossip. So reading it requires a lot of stamina and specialized tastes. Still, it's fascinating.

"Galia has written a nonjudgmental and certainly non-propagandistic biography. Taking into consideration the Israeli mind today, this isn't to be taken for granted. Galia presents a wealth of information, with nearly a thousand footnotes, about the political path of Habash, a man who was considered dogmatic even though he underwent a number of ideological reversals in his life. If that's dogmatism, what's pragmatism? The dogmatic Habash went through more ideological changes than any Israeli who sticks to the Zionist narrative and doesn't budge an inch - and who of course isn't considered dogmatic.

"In the book, Habash is revealed as a person of many contradictions: a member of the Christian minority who was active in the midst of a large Muslim majority, a bourgeois who became a Marxist, a tough and inflexible leader who was once seen weeping in his room as he wrote an article about Israel's crimes against his people. He had to wander and flee for his life from place to place, sometimes more for fear of Arab regimes than of Israel. He was imprisoned in Syria and fled Jordan, he devoted his life to a revolution that never happened. It's impossible not to admire a person who devoted his life to his ideas, just as you have to admire the scholar who has devoted so much research for so few readers who will take an interest in the dead Habash, in an Israel that has lost any interest in the occupation and the Palestinian struggle.

"The book gives rise to the bleak conclusion that Habash was right. For most of his life he was a bitter enemy of compromises, and Arafat, the man of compromise, won the fascinating historical struggle between the two. They had a love-hate relationship, alternately admiring and scorning each other, and never completely breaking off their connection until Arafat won his Pyrrhic victory. What good have all of Arafat's compromises done for the Palestinian people? What came out of the recognition of Israel, of the settling for a Palestinian state on 22% of the territory, of the negotiations with Zionism and the United States? Nothing but the entrenchment of the Israeli occupation and the strengthening and massive development of the settlement project.

"In retrospect, it makes sense to think that if that's how things were, maybe it would have been better to follow the uncompromising path taken by Habash, who for most of his life didn't agree to any negotiations with Israel, who believed that with Israel it was only possible to negotiate by force, who thought Israel would only change its position if it paid a price, who dreamed of a single, democratic and secular state of equal rights and refused to discuss anything but that. Unfortunately, Habash was right. It's hard to know what would have happened had the Palestinians followed his path, but it's impossible not to admit that the alternative has been a resounding failure.

"Habash, who was born in 1926, wrote about his childhood: 'Our enemies are not the Jews but rather the British... The Jews' relations with the Palestinians were natural and sometimes even good' (p 16). He went to study medicine at the American University in Beirut; his worried mother and father wrote him that he should stay there; a war was on. But Habash returned to volunteer at a clinic in Lod; he returned and he saw. The sight of the Israeli soldiers who invaded the clinic in 1948 ignited in him the flame of violent resistance: 'I was gripped by an urge to shoot them with a pistol and kill them, and in the situation of having no weapons I used mute words. I watched them from the sidelines and said to myself: This is our land, you dogs, this is our land and not your land. We will stay here to kill you. You will not win this battle.' (p 22) On July 14 he was expelled from his home with the rest of his family. He never returned to the city he loved. He never forgot the scenes of Lod in 1948, nor did he forget the idea of violent resistance. Can the Israeli leader understand how he felt?

"Now based in Beirut, he took part in terror operations against Jewish and Western targets in Beirut, Amman and Damascus: 'I personally lobbed grenades and I participated in assassination attempts. I had endless enthusiasm when I was doing that. At the time, I considered my life worthless relative to what was happening in Palestine.' 'The Palestinian Che Guevara' - both of them were doctors - made up his mind to wreak vengeance for the Nakba upon the West and the leaders of the Arab regimes that had abandoned his people, even before taking vengeance on the Jews. He even planned to assassinate King Abdullah of Jordan. He founded a new student organization in Beirut called the Commune, completed his specialization in pediatrics and wrote: 'I took the diploma and said: Congratulations, Mother, your son is a doctor, so now let me do what I really want to do. And indeed, that's what happened.' (p 41)

"Habash was once asked whether he was the Che Guevara of the middle East and replied that he would prefer to be the Mao Zedong of the Arab masses. He was the first to raise the banner of return and and in the meantime he opened clinics for Palestinian refugees in Amman. For him, the road back to Lod passed through Amman, Beirut and Damascus. The idea of Pan-Arabism stayed with him for many years, until he despaired of that as well. He also had to leave medicine: 'I am a pediatrician, I have enjoyed this greatly. I believed that I had the best job in the world but I had to make the decision I have taken and I don't regret it... A person cannot split his emotions in that way: to heal on the one hand and kill on the other. This is the time when he must say to himself: one or the other.'

"This book isn't arrogant and it isn't Orientalist; it is respectful of the Palestinian national ideology and those who articulated and lived it, even if the author doesn't necessarily agree with that ideology or identify with it. This is something quite rare in the Israeli landscape when it comes to Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular. Nor does the author venerate what's not worthy of veneration, and he doesn't have any erroneous romantic or other illusions. Galia presents a bitter, tough, uncompromising, very much failed and sometimes exceedingly cruel struggle for freedom, self-respect and liberation. And this is what is said in the founding document of the PFLP, which Habash established in December 1967 after having despaired of Palestinian unity: 'The only weapon left to the masses in order to restore history and progress and truly defeat enemies and potential enemies in the long run is revolutionary violence... The only language that the enemy understands is the language of revolutionary violence.' (p 125)

"But this path too met with failure. 'The essential aim of hijacking airplanes,' wrote Habash, 'was to bring the Palestinian question out of anonymity and expose it to Western public opinion, because at that time it was unknown in Europe and in the United States. We wanted to undertake actions that would make an impression on the senses of the entire world... There was international ignorance regarding our suffering, in part due to the Zionist movement's monopoly on the mass media in the West.' (p 151) The PFLP plane hijackings in the early 1970s indeed achieved international recognition of the existence of the Palestinian problem, but so far this recognition hasn't led anywhere. The only practical outcome has been the security screenings at airports everywhere around the world - and thank you, George Habash. I read Galia's book on a number of flights, even though this isn't an airplane book, and I kept thinking that were it not for Habash my wanderings at airports would have been a lot shorter. In my heart I forgave him for that, for what other path was open to him and his defeated, humiliated and bleeding people?

"Not much is left of his ideas. What has come of the scientific idealism and the politicization of the masses, the class struggle and the anti-imperialism, the Maoism and of course the transformation of the struggle against Israel into an armed struggle, which according to the plans was supposed to develop from guerrilla warfare into a national war of liberation? Fifty years after the founding of the PFLP and 10 years after the death of its founder, what remains? Habash's successor, Abu Ali Mustafa, was assassinated by Israel in 2001; his successor's successor, Ahmad Saadat, has been in an Israeli prison since 2006 and very little remains of the PFLP.

"During all my decades covering the Israeli occupation, the most impressive figures I met belonged to the PFLP, but now not much remains except fragments of dreams. The PFLP is a negligible minority in intra-Palestinian politics, a movement that once thought to demand equal power with Fatah and its leader, Arafat. And the occupation? It's strong and thriving and its end looks further off than ever. If that isn't failure, what is?

"Yet Habash always knew how to draw lessons from failure after failure. How resonant today is his conclusion following the Naksa, the defeat in 1967 that broke his spirit, to the effect that 'the enemy of the Palestinians is colonialism, capitalism and the global monopolies... This is the enemy that gave rise to the Zionist movement, made a covenant with it, nurtured it, protected it and accompanied it until it brought about the establishment of the aggressive and fascistic State of Israel.' (p 179) From the Palestinian perspective, not much has changed. It used to be that this was read in Israel as hostile and shallow propaganda. Today it could be read otherwise.

"After the failure of 1967, Habash redefined the goal: the establishment of a democratic state in Palestine in which Arabs and Jews would live as citizens with equal rights. Today this idea, too, sounds a bit less strange and threatening than it did when Habash articulated it.

"On the 40th anniversary of Israel's founding, Habash wrote that Israel was galloping toward the Greater Land of Israel and that the differences between the right and the left in the country were becoming meaningless. How right he was about that, too. At the same time, he acknowledged Israel's success and the failure of the Palestinian national movement. And he was right about that, too.

"And one last correct prophecy, though a bitter one, that he made in 1981: 'The combination of loss of lives and economic damage has considerable influence on Israeli society, and when that happens there will be a political, social and ideological schism on the Israeli street and in the Zionist establishment between the moderate side that demands withdrawal from the occupied territories and the extremist side that continues to cling to Talmudic ideas and dreams. Given the hostility between these two sides, the Zionist entity will experience a real internal split.' (p 329)

"This has yet to happen.

"Imad Saba, a dear friend who was active in the PFLP and is in exile in Europe, urged me for years to try to meet with Habash and interview him for Haaretz. As far as is known, Habash never met with Israelis, except during the days of the Nakba. Many years ago in Amman I interviewed Hawatmeh, Habash's partner at the start and the leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which split off from the PFLP in 1969. At the time of the interview, Habash was also living in Amman and was old and sick. I kept postponing my approach - until he died. When reading the book, I felt very sorry that I had not met this man."

Friday, May 4, 2018

Apartheid Israel Speaks

It's Friday again, and as we await today's body count of dead and wounded Palestinians in the Gaza Ghetto, contemplate these appalling (and telling) statistics:

"Israelis overwhelmingly back the shooting of peaceful Palestinian protesters at the Gaza border and US President Donald Trump's plans to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Occupied Jerusalem, a new poll has found. Conducted by Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute, the poll shows that... 83% of Israelis say they support the shooting policy. Since March 30, 44 Palestinians have been killed, including 5 minors, and over 6,000 others injured in aggressive attacks by the Israeli military on the great March of Return protests staged at Gaza's border... The poll [also] shows that 63% of all Israelis say the embassy move benefits Israel." (Israelis strongly back shooting Palestinians at Gaza border, english.palinfo.com, 3/5/18)

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Sliding into War

Notice how the US Secretary of State echoes his master's voice. No, not Trump's. Netanyahu's:

"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stepped up pressure on the US to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, holding a prime-time address on Israeli television to present what he called evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program and a decade of deception... [He unveiled slides] including one that just said 'Iran lied'... The presentation probably didn't come as a surprise to Trump. The two leaders had spoken at the weekend, just as new US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Israel... Late on Monday, US time, Pompeo [said] 'Now that the world knows Iran has lied and is still lying, it is time to revisit the question of whether Iran can be trusted to enrich... any nuclear material'... ('No smoking gun' in Iran claims, Stephen Farrell, Reuters/Sydney Morning Herald, 2/5/18)

However, for those interested in the facts, as opposed to the theatrics:

"Eren Etzion, former deputy Israeli national security adviser who now heads the Israeli-European think-tank Forum of Stategic Dialogue, said on Twitter: 'No 'smoking gun' was revealed this evening, nor was it proven that Iran is today developing nuclear weaponry or violating the (nuclear deal) in any other way'." (ibid)

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Challenging Chomsky on BDS

I spent some time recently listening to the 8/7/10 Alison Weir (of If Americans Knew & Council for the National Interest) interview with Noam Chomsky. On the subject of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), Chomsky argued again and again that boycotting Israel would be harmful to the Palestinians because it would enable hardliners to ask 'Why boycott Israel, but not the United States?' To which question there was, presumably, at least for Chomsky, no possible answer.

While we can of course acknowledge the misery meted out on a global basis by the United States, including its aiding and abetting of Israel, it seems to me that Chomsky is overlooking the particularly cruel and inhuman punishment - summed up in the term Israeli apartheid - being meted out to the Palestinians, and the fact that this has been ongoing since 1948 and has now reached crescendo proportions, a state of affairs requiring BDS on the grandest of scales.

I note too that Chomsky recently signed, with others, an open letter written by the Emergency Committee for Rojava, A Call to Defend Rojava (nybooks.com), a response to the Turkish invasion of Afrin - "one of three cantons in Rojava, also called the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria."

Reports the letter, "Many of those who fled Afrin are now  sleeping in open fields or in tent cities, lacking the most elementary necessities. Those who remain have been subjected to the same kind of ethnic discrimination, looting and sexual violence that ISIS perpetrated against the Yazidis in Iraq."

Need I remind the Palestinian history literate among you that "tent cities," "ethnic discrimination," "looting" and "sexual violence" were all features of the Zionist usurpation of Arab Palestine in 1948-49, and that tent cities, now permanent, concrete-block refugee camps, ethnic discrimination, and looting, now in the form of land theft, are still basic features of Israel's modus operandi vis-a-vis the Palestinians?

And what btw does the Emergency Committee for Rojava (and by extension Chomsky) want the US government to do?

"Impose economic and political sanctions on Turkey's leadership; embargo sales and delivery of weapons from NATO countries to Turkey; insist upon Rojava's representation in Syrian peace negotiations;... "

If only those forms of BDS were applied to Israel...

But there's a final, 4th demand on the group's to-do list:

"... continue military support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)."

In summary, Chomsky is happy to call for direct US intervention in Syria to protect the Kurds from Turkey, but baulks over the application of BDS to end decades of Israeli apartheid rule over the Palestinians.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The 3 Unwise Monkeys

Journalist Jonathan Cook, as usual, is bang on the mon(k)ey(s):

"The response from the US, UK and France to a briefing on Thursday at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Hague was perverse, to say the least. Russia had brought 17 witnesses from Douma who stated that there had been no chemical weapons attack there earlier this month - the pretext for an illegal air strike on Syria by the three western states.

"The witnesses, a mix of victims and the doctors who treated them, told accounts that confirmed a report provided last week from Douma by British reporter Robert Fisk - a report, it should be noted, that has been almost entirely blanked by the western media. According to the testimony provided at the OPCW, the victims shown in a video from the site of an alleged attack were actually suffering from the effects of inhaling dust after a bombing raid, not gas.

"The first strange thing to note is that the US, UK and France boycotted the meeting, denouncing Russia for producing the witnesses and calling the event 'an obscene masquerade' and 'theatre'. It suggests that this trio, behaving like the proverbial three monkeys, think the testimony will disappear if they simply ignore it. They have no interest in hearing from witnesses unless they confirm the western narrative used to justify the air strikes on Syria.

"Testimony from witnesses is surely a crucial part of determining what actually. The US, UK and France are surely obligated to listen to the witnesses first, and then seek to discredit the testimony afterwards if they think it implausible or coerced. The evidence cannot be tested and rebutted if it is not even considered.

"The second is that the media are echoing this misplaced scorn for evidence. They too seem to have prejudged whether the witnesses are credible before listening to what they have to say (similar to their treatment of Fisk). Tellingly, the Guardian described these witnesses as 'supposed witnesses', not a formulation that suggests that any degree of impartiality in its coverage. Notice that when the Guardian refers to witnesses who support the UK-UK-French line, often those living under the rule of violent jihadist groups, the paper does not designate them 'supposed witnesses' or assume their testimony is coerced. Why for the Guardian are some witnesses only professing to be witnesses, while others really are witnesses? The answer appears to depend on whether the testimony accords with the official western narrative. There is a word for that, and it is not 'journalism'.

"The third and biggest problem, however, is that neither the trio of western states nor the western media are actually contesting the claim that these 'supposed witnesses' were present in Douma, and that some of them were shown in the video. Rather, the line taken by the Guardian and others is that: 'The veracity [of] the statements by the Russian-selected witnesses at The Hague will be challenged, since their ability to speak truthfully is limited.' So the question is not whether they were there, but whether they are being coerced into telling a story that undermines the official western narrative, as well as the dubious rationale for attacking Syria.

"But that leaves us with another difficulty. No one, for example, appears to be doubting that Hassan Diab, a boy who testified at the hearing, is also the boy shown in the video who was supposedly gassed with a nerve agent three weeks ago. How then do we explain that he is now looking a picture of health? It is not as though the US, UK and French governments and the western media have had no time to investigate his case. He and his father have been saying for at least a week on Russian TV that there was no chemical attack.

"Instead, we are getting yet more revisions to a story that was originally presented as so cut-and-dried that it justified an act of military aggression by the US, UK and France against Syria, without authorisation from the UN Security Council - in short, a war crime of the highest order.

"It is worth noting the BBC's brief account. It has suggested that Diab was there, and that he is the boy shown in the video, but that he was not a victim of a gas attack. It implies that there were two kinds of victims shown in the video taken in Douma: those who were victims of a chemical attack, and those next to them who were victims of dust inhalation.

"That requires a great deal of back-peddling on the original narrative.

"It is conceivable, I suppose, that there was a chemical attack on that neighbourhood of Douma, in which people like Diab assumed they had been gassed when in fact they had not been, and that others close by were actually gassed. It is also conceivable that the effects of dust inhalation and gassing were so similar that the White Helmets staff filmed the 'wrong victims', highlighting those like Diab who had not been gassed. And it is also conceivable, I guess, that Diab and his family now feel the need to lie under Russian pressure about there not being a gas attack, even though their account would, according to this revised narrative, actually accord with their experience of what happened.

"But even if each of these scenarios is conceivable on its own, how plausible are they when taken together? Those of us who have preferred to avoid a rush to judgment until there was actual evidence of a chemical weapons attack have been invariably dismissed as 'conspiracy theorists'. But who is really proposing the more fanciful conspiracy here: those wanting evidence, or those creating an elaborate series of revisions to maintain the credibility of their original story?

"If there is one thing certain in all of this, it is that the video produced as cast-iron evidence of a chemical weapons attack has turned out to be nothing of the sort." (The west closes its ears to Douma testimony, jonathan-cook.net, 28/4/18)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Good News... Bad News

A 2008 Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation (Monash University) survey of Melbourne's and Sydney's Jewish community found that "Close to 80% of respondents indicated that they regarded themselves as Zionists." (Report Series on the GEN08 Survey, Preliminary Findings)

Nine years on, the ACJC GEN17 survey finds that, while "88% of people feel a personal responsibility to ensure that the Jewish State 'continues to exist'," only 69% identify as Zionist.

What is one to make of these figures?

Well, the good news is that when it comes to those surveyed identifying as Zionist, that's a drop of 11% on the 2008 survey. One could, perhaps, conclude therefore that Zionism is increasingly on the nose with Australian Jews.

But the bad news is that 88%. What does it mean? That 19% of those surveyed simply don't understand that feeling the need to ensure the continued existence of a Jewish State in Palestine means that they are, in fact, Zionists?

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Plain Truth about the Gaza Ghetto Massacres

As you reflect on Israel's latest Friday massacre in Gaza (3 killed, 600 wounded), recall this demented Zionist's 14-year-old prediction:

"When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it's going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. Its going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day." Israeli 'geostrategist' Arnon Sofer, quoted in It's the demography, stupid, Ruthie Blum Leibowitz, jpost.com, 21/5/04)

Of course, the plain truth is that:

a) The "human catastrophe" in Gaza is a wholly Israeli creation, a by-product of Zionist ethnic cleansing in 1948.

b) The "bigger animals" are not the ghettoised and brutalised Palestinians, but their jailers, the Israelis.

c) The "insane fundamentalism" driving those Israeli "animals" is Zionism, Israel's state ideology, which insists on maintaining an exclusively Jewish state in historic Palestine at the expense of its indigenous people.

d) The only way to maintain this state of apartheid is to "kill and kill and kill. All day, every day."

Friday, April 27, 2018

Trump's French Poodle

Have we reached an historic moment? Is the formulation of US policy in the Middle East now in the hands of Tel Aviv... and Paris? Has USrael has found, in Emmanuel Macron, its Tony Blair? Has Bush's poodle become Trump's French poodle? Has Dumb found his Dumber? Whatever's going on, the Trump-Macron bromance is truly weird.

Regardez:

"Just a month after another brief flirtation with the idea of withdrawing from Syria, President Trump once again said he wants US troops out of Syria, promising 'big decisions' very soon. His first talk of a pullout was scrapped days later. This time, he backtracked almost instantly. With French President Emmanuel Macron in tow, Trump told reporters that he and his allies are taking a long-term approach to Syria, and that this would involve leaving 'a strong and lasting footprint' within Syria. He said talk of the long-term issues in Syria was 'a very big part' of his discussions with Macron.

"The idea that Macron is driving Trump's decision-making was a big issue last week. Macron claimed credit for Trump agreeing to stay in Syria, but quickly reversed course, and insisted the two had always agreed on the issue." (Trump again backtracks on Syria pullout, vows 'strong and lasting footprint', Jason Ditz, antiwar.com, 24/4/18)

Just on the issue of dumbness, how dumb is Macron? By all accounts, tres. 

For example, it seems he's completely unaware of the difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism: "Addressing Benjamin Netanyahu [last year]... who attended [an event in France to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Vel D'Hiv round-up, in which 13,152 French Jews were deported to Nazi concentration camps by the then Vichy French government], the French leader said: 'We will never surrender to the messages of hate; we will not surrender to anti-Zionism because it is a reinvention of anti-Semitism." (Emmanuel Macron says anti-Zionism is a new type of anti-Semitism, independent.co.uk, 17/7/17)

In addition to conflating the unconflatable and allowing Netanyahu to make cheap propaganda out of the Vel D'Hiv round-up, thus exploiting the suffering of its Jewish victims, France's appalling colonial record in Syria appears to give him no pause for thought whatever - assuming he's even aware of it that is. Now more than ever, it's worth reviewing the sorry story. The following extract comes from Jeremy Salt's vital book, The Unmaking of the Middle East: A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands, 2008:

"In 1919 [the Syrians] held a congress in Damascus and chose a king (the sharif [of Mecca's] son Faisal) without being fully aware of the extent to which their rights were being bargained away in London and Paris. In 1920 France partitioned Syria by establishing an enlarged Lebanon and giving it a constitutional arrangement that privileged Christians against Muslims. When negotiations with the Syrian government failed, it sent an army across the Lebanon mountains to bring Damascus to heel. The French forces met stubborn resistance all the way, punishing 'rebellious' villages by bombing them from the air or putting them to the torch. At the base of the anti-Lebanon mountains thousands of Syrian nationalists took up defensive positions around the pass at Khan Maysalun. The pitched battle that ensued dragged on for several hours; by the time the nationalists were routed, 150 were dead (including their commander Yusuf al 'Azma) and another 1,500 wounded. French losses were 42 dead and 152 wounded. Faisal fled before the French entered Damascus and began taking over public buildings.

"Over the years the French used the full range of colonial devices to control Syria. The strategic need to anchor the French presence at both ends of the Mediterranean meant not just consolidating a military presence on land and at sea but blocking the growth of religious and national sentiment. Accordingly, the French 'did not conceal their preference for Christians above Muslims and for the mountain minorities (Maronites, Alawites, Druzes and Turcomans) above the majority Sunni Arabs of the coast, desert and cities.' Separate states - effectively colonial protectorates - were established around Damascus and Aleppo; within the state of Aleppo, the coastal sanjak (subprovince) of Alexandretta (Iskanderun) was excluded and given its own autonomous administration before France completely debauched its 'sacred trust' responsibility under the mandate by handing the region over to Turkey in 1939 (the very region it had insisted in 1918 was part of la Syrie integrale); the coastal region of Latakia was given statehood, and in the south the Jabal Druze was given autonomy with its own governor and an elected council. These arrangements were modified over the years, but French interests always had to predominate. Each state or autonomous region functioned under the control of French delegues and departmental advisers; parliaments (in Lebanon as well as Syria) could be prorogued at the high commissioner's discretion and constitutions suspended indefinitely.

"From beginning to end the platform on which this colonial structure was built was force. More than six thousand French soldiers (most of them colonial troops from North or West Africa) had already died suppressing 'rebels' and 'brigands' since 1920 when Sultan al Atrash, angered at the arrest of Druze sheikhs, routed a French column in late July 1925 and besieged the occupied Druze town of Suwayda. When a second column sent to punish the sheikh for the destruction of the first was also scattered, a wave of uprisings spread across the whole of Syria with the speed of a grass fire. The 'great Arab revolt' had begun, and the French moved swiftly to crush it. In October an uprising in Hama led by Fawzi al Qawuqji - later to make his name fighting the British in Iraq and the Zionists in Palestine - was met with aerial bombardment of the market area and ground action by the hated Senegalese levies that left more than three hundred dead. Outside the town 'rebels' set fire to railway stations and pulled up the lines; in the south, eight villages and the town of Majd al Shams in the Golan were left in ruins after French attacks that left tens of thousands of people homeless; attacks on the Druze in one part of Syria led to Druze uprisings elsewhere, with the town of Hasbeyya (in Grand Liban) being recaptured only after an assault by more than three battalions of Algerian infantry backed by cavalry, tanks, field artillery, and air support.

"Inevitably, Damascus had to bear the brunt of French imperial anger. The main point of resistance was the orchard area on the outskirts of the city known as the Ghuta. Already by October 15 about a hundred 'brigands' had been killed in 'clearing operations.' Twenty-four of the bodies were carried into the city by French soldiers and put on public display in the central square, a touch of barbarity that only further inflamed public feeling. On October 17, Druze horsemen arrived at the Ghuta, and the nationalists began moving toward the center of Damascus, bypassing the barricades set up to keep them out. The next evening the French began bombarding the southern quarters of the town before turning their attention to the center the following morning, 'this time with high explosive shells striking in all quarters from the central bazaars down to the middle of the Maydan.' In two days, 1,416 people (including 336 women and children) were killed and much of the central city was ruined by tank and artillery fire and air attack. The Suq Midhat Pasha and the Suq al Hamidiyya markets near the Umayyad mosque were destroyed. Shop fronts were riddled with machine-gun fire. In the biblical 'street called straight' (running alongside the Umayyad mosque), whole buildings collapsed into piles of rubble. The palatial mansions of the urban notables were shattered. The French high commissioner (General Sarrail) had made part of the 'Azm Palace his quarters, and that was quickly besieged by 'rebels.' The general's rooms were pillaged and the selamlik (where official guests were received) was destroyed. 'Very serious damage' was done to the library, 'where valuable and irreplaceable prints and books dealing with Arabic art have either been absolutely destroyed or injured beyond repair.' Tapestries and carpets were looted both from the 'Azm Palace and the mosques of the Maydan quarter by persons unknown, but the nationalists accused French troops of taking them before setting the mosques on fire.

"There were no apologies from the French government, only outrage at the killing of French troops and the destruction of property by 'brigands.' A collective fine (of about P35 per person) was imposed on Damascus, and the city was subjected to a house-by-house search for weapons. In the country, villages 'where brigands are reported to have been harbored and victualled' were torched, yet the resistance continued. More than 200 Druze fighters were killed and more than 200 wounded in fighting with the French around Majd al Shams in April 1926. Suwayda was retaken by the French the same month after a large-scale battle between 12,000 French troops and a Druze force of 4,000 to 5,000, of which number about 600 men were killed and another 800 wounded for perhaps 120 deaths on the French side.

"With resistance slowly being broken in the north and the south, the French were able to concentrate on the center. In February they had made another attempt to crush resistance in Damascus, and on May 7 they struck again: 'In less than 12 hours the French army struck with more intensity than it had either in October [1925] or February. The number of houses and shops destroyed during the aerial bombardment or as a result of incendiaries was estimated at well over 1,000. The death toll was equally staggering, between 600 and 1,000. The vast majority were unarmed civilians, including a large number of women and children: only 50 rebels were reported killed in the attack. Afterwards the troops indulged in pillaging and looting and then paraded their spoils through the streets in the city centre... The French assault made a formerly busy quarter of 30,000 a virtually deserted ruin.'

"On July 8, a further six days of fighting began when the French military command sent some 5,000 troops, backed up by tanks, field artillery, and aircraft, into the Ghuta. Another 1,500 people (an estimate because, like most occupying armies, the French had no interest in counting the people they were killing) died (only a few hundred of them 'rebels') at the cost of about 200 'French' (mainly colonial troops) lives. Druze and other nationalist leaders fled into Transjordan; France was to retain its hold on Syria and Lebanon until 1946, when, weakened by the war and disgraced by a final bombardment of Damascus in which hundreds of people were killed, it was compelled to withdraw under British pressure and transfer the authority given to it by the League of Nations to nationalist governments." (pp 83-86)

And Macron wants the US to stay in Syria?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

WAPO: Syria 4, Yemen 0

Tweet from Bassem @BBassem7:

In the 24 hrs following Douma (Syria) alleged gas attack that killed supposedly 40 people, @washingtonpost tweeted 4 times about this incident. In the 24 hrs following the Saudi airstrike on wedding party in Yemen that killed 40 people, @washingtonpost tweeted 0 times about it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Give Us a Break, Guardian!

Another Israeli bloodletting in Gaza. Another lame Guardian editorial:

"The soldiers use of live ammunition against unarmed demonstrators is an affront; but it is in line with the brutal attitudes towards Palestinians that have been normalised by Israeli politicians." (The Guardian view on the Gaza protests: a new challenge to Israel's blockade, 23/4/18)

It's not an "affront," it's a fucking war crime!

That aside, if the Guardian's editor, Jonathan Freedland, is so bloody ignorant that he seriously thinks that Israeli brutality towards Palestinians is something new, then he doesn't deserve editorial space on a news website, let alone the job of boss cocky.

I mean, how far back do we have to go to understand that anti-Palestinian brutality is in the Zionist DNA?

1967?

"[Israeli Prime Minister Levi] Eshkol had already had reason to be worried about the Gaza refugees roughly two years before the Six-Day War [of 1967]. The refugees were multiplying, and when their numbers reached half a million, he feared the situation would become explosive. Once, he asked the chief of staff what would happen if the Egyptians [who then controlled the Gaza Strip]  simply marched the refugees - women and children in the vanguard - towards the border with Israel. [Yitzhak] Rabin said they would not do that, and if they did, as soon as the IDF had killed the first 100, the rest would go back to Gaza." (1967: Israel, the War & the Year that Transformed the Middle East, Tom Segev, 2007, p 524)

1949?

"Altogether between 2,700 and 5,000 infiltrators were killed in the period 1949-1956, the great majority of whom were unarmed." (Avi Shlaim, reviewing Benny Morris' Israel's Border Wars, 1949-1956: Arab Infiltration, Israeli Retaliation & the Countdown to the Suez War, 1993)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Jordan Peterson & the 13th Rule for Life

I read in Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald mag Good Weekend the feature - Toughen up, snowflake - on professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, Jordan Peterson.

Peterson, apparently, is the latest, trending intellectual guru with all the answers - 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos - for the perplexed (and who isn't these days?), so before rushing out to buy his tome, I thought I'd subject him to the infallible guide for sorting the sheep from the goats, the Palestine/Israel litmus test.

It's really quite simple to administer. Just Google the guru's name + 'Palestine' or 'Israel' or both and check out the result.

So I did, and OMFGx10!

Google took me to a YouTube video, beneath which these words appeared:

"Professor of Psychology Jordan Peterson, Professor Salim Mansur, Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and Ezra Levant, co-founder of The Rebel Media give a spirited talk on the historical significance of the Balfour Declaration (May 18, 2017). The event was hosted by Canadians for Balfour 100, a project of the Speakers Action Group in cooperation with The Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow and the Mozuud Freedom Foundation."

The Gatestone Institute? Chaired by John Bolton? That's right! As to the rest... well, life's too damn short.

I proceeded straight to JP's 16-minute contribution, but could barely manage 10. Here's why:

"Maybe even the enemies [ie Arabs] of the Jews [ie Israelis] respect them because they've done so well and it's just annoying."

"Israel's a shining beacon on the hill [in] a God-forsaken part of the world."

"You think about the common complaint that the Western colonialists, say, were responsible for the divisions of the Middle East. I mean, that's one way of looking at it. If you start history at 1917 after the allies won the First World War and took down the Ottoman Empire... you could say, well, England and France had the upper hand and they arbitrarily divided up the Middle East, but you could just as easily say that the Ottoman Empire collapsed and they had to do something with it. It wasn't obvious, and they gave some of it to the Arabs who really didn't have any land to begin with, or not any independent land that's for sure, because they were dominated by the Ottoman Empire, and they decided to give some of it to the Jews. Well, maybe that wasn't the world's best solution either way but they were maybe making the best of a bad lot."

According to our intellectual guru, empires (and presumably, countries too) just collapse - no push, no shove necessary. In the case of the Ottoman Empire, no foreign interference over decades, no foreign interventions, no final British push in Palestine. One minute it's standing, the next it's in a bloody great heap, just begging to be cleared away.

And guess which innocent bystanders just happen to be around at that precise point: 'Blimey, chaps, just look at that! How frightfully messy. OK, duty calls, roll up your sleeves and pitch in! And when we're done, we can give some of it to those Arab blighters, and some to the Jews.' To which latter suggestion said innocent bystanders exclaim as one: 'What a jolly good idea!'

Hey, Jordan, here's a 13th Rule for Life. Put it in your second edition: If you don't know anything about a subject, don't talk about it.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Next War

Ominous drumbeats in Friday's Australian, from its full-page interview with Israel's new ambassador to these shores, Mark Sofer:

"... the insidious beachhead of Iranian military power pushing into Syria, which shares a border with Israel." (A NOTE TO IRAN: GO HOME, Adam Creighton)

"... Iran is 'crossing a red line'."

"'The Iranians are sitting there, threatening our existence... '"

"... an Iranian government so belligerent that even Arab nations - former enemies of Israel - are looking to Israel to help contain it."

If Israel isn't gearing up for a war this year...

Some other highlights:

"Sofer is at pains to draw a distinction between the Iranian people - 'very erudite' - and the 'half-crazed lunatics' running the theocracy in Tehran."

Says the representative of the half-crazed lunatics running the theocracy in Tel Aviv...

(Remember what happened after another half-crazed lunatic, George W. Bush, drew the same distinction between the Iraqi people and their leader? "Iraq's talented people, rich culture, and tremendous potential have been hijacked by Saddam Hussein." (A vision for Iraq & the Iraqi people, 16/3/03))

"The country is more than pulling its weight in humanitarian terms. 'We're accepting into Israel a huge amount [sic] of Syrian wounded into our hospitals. We don't make a song and dance about it,' he says, referring to the tens of thousands of Syrians being treated for wounds in the north of the country."

And the Oscar goes to...

"The ambassador displays his nation's famously coy attitude to its own military capabilities. 'We're not a nuclear power. We have always said so, and will always say so,' he says when asked about his country's nuclear development. Try finding a source that argues Israel doesn't have a sizeable battery of nuclear weapons. Can anyone blame Israel, though?"

Certainly, you can't, Adam - not if you want to keep your job at the Australian.