We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East. (From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

Friday, 24 October 2014

Arab Loans & Arab Voters: Gough Whitlam's hostility to Israel & its causes

The death this week of Gough Whitlam (1916-2014), prime minister of Australia from 1973-75, has of course many obituaries and reminiscences.

Popular columnist Andrew Bolt sums up Whitlam well here:
'Gough Whitlam was lucky his government was sacked in 1975. To our cultural elite, that turned him from a failure to a martyr.
That allowed the ruin he caused to gradually become obscured by the giant shadow of his myth. More ominously, it also allowed Labor to gradually forget what it learned, painfully, from Whitlam’s disasters.
So Labor today weeps for Whitlam and much of the media with it. The ABC’s massive coverage in particular has resembled the state-ordered mourning for a socialist dictator....
Aloof and arrogant, Whitlam was no man of the people and no prime minister was shunned by them so comprehensively — twice.
Whitlam ruled chaotically for just two years and 11 months until he was sacked by governor-general Sir John Kerr to end a damaging stalemate in the Senate, where the Opposition had cut off the scandal-racked government’s money.
The Left raged at the dismissal. On Monday, hours before Whitlam died, prize-winning author Peter Carey was still spluttering on the ABC that his sacking was a wicked conspiracy — “the US government destabilised and helped overthrow our elected government”.
But at the election the public wholeheartedly backed Kerr’s verdict, destroying Labor in a 44 per cent to 56 wipeout. Whitlam the martyr — bellowing “maintain the rage” — nevertheless held on to the Labor leadership, convinced he’d be seen in time as more sinned against than sinning. Instead, two years later the public made clear to Whitlam that he really, really wasn’t wanted, rejecting Labor again by another massive margin, 45 to 55....
Yes, Whitlam made ambitious changes widely accepted as good, bringing in need-based funding for schools, transferring Crown lands to traditional owners, allowing no-fault divorce, legislating for equal pay for women, ending gerrymanders, decriminalising homosexuality and getting sewerage systems to many suburbs. He blew fresh air into power’s musty corridors and to many made Australia seem bigger, broader and brighter.
But other “reforms” came at a cost we’re haven’t yet counted....' 
And what of Whitlam's attitude to Israel?

Photo credit: Sydney Morning Herald
Let me say that there was a delicious irony in the fact that the person who, in iconic footage (see photo, right) charged with reading out the proclamation of Whitlam's controversial dismissal from office by Governor-General Sir John Kerr, happened to be a Jew, (Sir) David Smith, who was Kerr's official secretary (see a snippet regarding Sir David's personal view of Whitlam here).

Whitlam's deep hostility to Israel is described at some length in Professor W. D. (Bill) Rubinstein's volume 2 of The Jews in Australia: A Thematic History, published in 1999 (the professor, of course, is no stranger to regular readers of my blog, having from time to time contributed guest posts to it).

Below is what he writes about Whitlam (pages 541-45) although there are plenty of other references scattered about the volume.
"Whitlam alone of all post-1948 [Australian] Prime Ministers was not merely regarded as no friend of the Jewish community, but as an enemy, and at the 1975 General Election most Australian Jewish leaders recommended a vote for the Coalition [i.e. the Opposition, consisting of Malcolm Fraser's Liberals and their Country Party allies]
the only time in history Australian Jewish leaders expressed a party political preference.
There was little or nothing in Whitlam's background to suggest any overt hostility to Israel or Jewish interests.  An intelligent, sophisticated, and articulate barrister, Whitlam (b. 1916) came from the same generation of moderate social democrats as Harold Wilson and Hubert Humphrey who remembered the Holocaust and were almost instinctively Zionist.  By 1971, Whitlam had visited Israel four times, and had Jewish confidantes such as Jim Spigelman and Peter Wilenski.  Yet he proved hostile to Jewish interests on a variety of key issues: directly on the Middle East War of 1973, the ill-fated Iraqi Loans Affair of 1975, and PLO representation in Australia, and indirectly over the Khemlani Loans Affair of the previous year.
Whitlam's conflict with the Jewish community first emerged during the Yom Kippur War of 1973, when his Government's 'even-handed' position slipped into gratuitous condemnation of Israel, according to most Jewish leaders.  This perception was greatly aggravated in early 1974 when Australia criticised Israel at the United Nations for a reprisal raid on PLO bases in southern Lebanon in retaliation for the PLO's terror attack on Kiryat Shemona in southern Lebanon.  A now-legendary meeting between Whitlam and Jewish leaders in May 1974 failed to clear the air; it was described in a Jewish community press release at the time as 'disappointing and unacceptable,' and was, in fact, acrimonious to a degree that is still recounted by those present many years later, Whitlam noting inter alia that the 'Jewish community, because of its wealth and its cohesion has been able to make its point of view well understood.  The Arab has not.  I believe it would be wise for the Jewish community to realise that the Arab community is becoming more articulate,' and claiming that the Israeli raid was 'not only a raid, but a crime'.
The Iraqi Loans Affair was, in many respects, more inexplicable and outrageous than Whitlam's stand on the 1973 war.  On 16 November 1975, five days after Whitlam's celebrated dismissal by Sir John Kerr, David Combe, the ALP [Australian Labor Party] National Secretary, was drawn aside at an ALP meeting by pro-Arab activist and extreme left-wing figure in the ALP Bill Hartley and told that Hartley believed the ALP could borrow a substantial sum (usually stated to be $500,000) from Iraq to finance its election expenses in the pending election.  In the words of Alan Reid [In his book The Whitlam Venture, published in 1976]:
'Combe told Whitlam of Hartley's proposal.  Both men knew that Hartley, who functioned as a spokesman for the pro-Arab, anti-Israel cause in Australia, had some very influential Middle East connections.  The three men went off to a side office ... Hartley put his proposal.  Whitlam approved it.'
As his go-betweens, Hartley used Reuben Scarf, a Lebanese-Australian businessman who had corresponded with Whitlam over the admission of PLO representatives to Australia, and one Henry Fischer, a Sydney businessman with a long record of association with ultra right-wing and racist causes.  Secret negotiations ensued between the Arabs, Hartley and his intermediaries, and Whitlam.  Whitlam met Fischer on several occasions, as well as Iraqi representatives who flew to Australia for this purpose.  No money arrived by election day (11 December 1975) but, according to Alan Reid, probably did so in 1976.  As Reid noted:
'the story did not become public knowledge until early in 1976.
Whitlam was later to claim that th money would not have changed his foreign policy approach... [B]ut if Arab sources were to provide large amounts of money, they would not be providing such amounts for nothing.  They would undoubtedly feel themselves entitled to something in return, if only a change in emphasis in an ALP government's so-called 'even handed' Middle East policy, a change that would be of benefit to the anti-Israel cause.'
A former ALP minister, Kim Beazley, was even franker when he stated, of the Iraqi Loans Affair, that
 'it would be inevitable for the Australian Jewish community to regard any such [Iraqi] money as being in effect blood-money that might be paid for, ultimately, in Israeli blood'.
The Iraqi Loans Affair was not, of course the first entanglement by the Whitlam government with vast amounts of Arab money.  In the more celebrated Khemlani Loans Affair of 1974, the Australian government sought to borrow US$4billion from shady Arab sources, repayable in a lump sum of US$18billion after twenty years.  Whitlam's hostility to Israel and the 'Jewish lobby' continued vocally after he resigned the ALP's leadership in 1977.  In May 1979 he told a lecture audience at Harvard University that the United States was being
 'dragged through the nose' by Israel, and unambiguously supported a Palestinian homeland in the Middle East.  In 1980 he accused the Australian Jewish community of 'crude political blackmail of spokesmen and letter writers from the Jewish community'.
There has been much speculation as to the reasons for Whitlam's stance.  Whitlam, it has been claimed in print, cynically calculated that there were more Moslem  votes in Australia than Jewish votes.  In 1978 Don Chipp noted to his biographer:
 'In later years, however, I found that expediency had made its way into [Whitlam's] principles.  I remember being disappointed in him recently when in my presence he advocated a hard anti-Israel line, only for the reason that he believed that there are now more pro-Arab than Jewish voters in Australia'.
Remarkably and oblivious to the deep cynicism underlying this statement Whitlam  repeated this view even more explicitly in his autobiography, published in 1985:
'By the time of the 1972 elections there were as many Arabs as Jews in Australia.  While the Arabs were not as articulate and established as the Jews they were as important in as many individual electorates as the Jews'....
Professor Rubinstein's narrative points out at that stage that the accuracy of Whitlam 's statement regarding the number of Arabs in Australia at that time is "highly arguable," most Muslims in Australia being Turks, Pakistanis, Yugoslavs and Malays.  He continues:
At a Canberra Press Club address to mark the launching of his book  on 11 November 1985 [the tenth anniversary of "The Dismissal"] Whitlam was asked about the 'blackmail references in it.  He stated:
'the blackmail was exercised by some heroes in the Australian Jewish community on the other side of the world from the hostilities, that we should support Israel in the dispute between Israel and its neighbours... Now if I should enlarge on this, since then, people in Australia should realise that there are now as many Arabs as Jews in Australia.  There are as many Moslems as Jews ...'
Whitlam went on to boast that as Australian Ambassador to UNESCO he changed Australia's vote in an anti-Israel direction on resolutions condemning 'excavations of archaeological purposes in the Old City of Jerusalem and ... the harassment of the universities in the occupied Arab territories' both clear-cut examples of purely propagandistic motions contrived by the Arab-Communist-Third Wold bloc to humiliate Israel of the type which has done so much harm in the West to the reputation of neutral international bodies such as UNESCO.
Here the professor quotes Bill Hartley at length, regarding Whitlam's support for what Hartley noted were 'the growing links between the Libyan and the Australian people'.  The narrative continues:

More deeply, Whitlam clearly went beyond the traditional western social democratic stance towards Israel to support for a more radical position favouring the Third World and the anti-Zionist position found so often among Third World states, especially those with substantial Moslem populations.  Whitlam's foreign policy while Prime Minister was quasi-neutralist and often, implcitly or explicitly, anti-American; after Labor's return to power in 1983 Whitlam was appointed Ambassador to UNESCO, where he resolutely defended the corrupt leadership of UNESCO President M'Bow and its anti-Western stance which led to the withdrawal of the United States and Britain from that organisation.  Whitlam's stance was highly illustrative of the transformation of the geo-political position of Israel and the Jewish people in the contemporary world, with attack and hostility coming from the Left rather than the Far Right....'
 (See also Aussie Dave's blog here)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

David Singer: "Skirt-fronting Putin Can Help Eradicate Islamic State Crisis"

Julie Bishop; Credit: www.thenewdaily.com.au
 Here is the latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer. 
 
He writes:

The possibility of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott shirt-fronting Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit in Brisbane next month over the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH 17 in Ukrainian sovereign territory with the loss of all on board – including 38 Australians – has receded following Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s 25 minute meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the Asian Europe Summit held in Milan this week.

Abbott had vowed:
 "I'm going to shirtfront Mr Putin. I am going to be saying to Mr Putin Australians were murdered. There'll be a lot of tough conversations with Russia and I suspect the conversation I have with Mr Putin will be the toughest conversation of all."
“Shirtfront” is an Australian slang term used in Australian Rules football to describe: “a head-on charge aimed at bumping an opponent to the ground”

ABC News reported on Bishop’s meeting with Putin:
“The Foreign Minister said she received assurances from Mr Putin that he would help facilitate access to the crash site for international investigators but could not confirm a timeframe in which the Russian president would act.
"I had a very detailed discussion with him. I expressed our concerns about the Malaysia Airlines crash. He said that he would seek to respond to my request by asking the separatists to provide that access.
I announced to the gathered world leaders that I'd had a conversation with President Putin and that he had been most cooperative and had responded very constructively to my request that Russia use its influence to ensure that the independent investigators can have access to the crash site of MH17."
Hopefully such access will have occurred well before the G20 leaders meet.

Putin however should not believe he will have a trouble free ride in sunny and welcoming Brisbane.
Australia punches well above its weight and is a member of the American-led coalition fighting Islamic State (IS) in Iraq – whilst carefully avoiding confronting IS in neighbouring Syria.
Australia – also currently a member of the United Nations Security Council – should be increasingly concerned at the lack of a specific Security Council Resolution authorising the use of force against IS.

Bishop was alerted to Iraq’s frustrations with the Security Council – when Iraqi Foreign Minister Al-Ja’afari stated at a joint press conference with Bishop in Baghdad on 18 October:
“We have requested assistance with air strikes, logistic preparations, and the provision of intelligence information from the Head of UN Security Council and all the member countries. We also asked for their help with humanitarian assistance for 100,000 people who have been internally displaced from Mosul and other areas in Iraq. We have asked a number of countries to help us in rebuilding infrastructure, especially in Mosul…
…The clear message we send to the Head of the UN Security Council was that any country that wants to work with us needs to coordinate and communicate closely with the relevant authorities. The main points we have mentioned in our letter to the Head of the UN Security Council and to coalition member countries and non-member countries such as China and Iran are that they must avoid striking civilian targets and residential areas. China and Iran have offered to help Iraq. China is not a member of the coalition. We will work with any countries that want to help and assist Iraq even if they are not members of the coalition”
The idea that China and Iran should offer any help to Iraq outside the American – led coalition – which itself is operating without Security Council authorisation – seems a recipe for disaster.
Only a UN Security Council mandated force – backed by Russia – can degrade and destroy IS and end what has become a crisis of increasing international concern.

Putin – from his perspective – needs to ensure that the passage of any such Security Council resolution does not result in Syria’s President Assad being removed from power.
Russian and Iranian national interests in Syria dictate that Assad remains in power – whilst his American-supported opponents attempt to overthrow him in a conflict that has raged for more than three years and seen over 200000 deaths and three million refugees – with no end in sight.
Putin has previously supported a Security Council resolution that removed a common threat to both American and Russian interests – Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal – whilst leaving Assad untouched.

The looming threat that battle-hardened Chechens fighting for IS represent for Russia is made chillingly clear in this report:
“When the Islamic State commander known as “Omar the Chechen” called to tell his father they’d routed the Iraqi army and taken the city of Mosul, he added a stark message: Russia would be next.
“He said ‘don’t worry dad, I’ll come home and show the Russians,’” Temur Batirashvili said from his home in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge, on the border with the Russian region of Chechnya. “I have many thousands following me now and I’ll get more. We’ll have our revenge against Russia.”
Iran’s Shiite population has no illusions about the threat the Sunni ideologically-based Islamic State poses.

America and Russia face that same common threat.

Ms Bishop – meeting Putin again in Brisbane on the sidelines of the G20 Summit – could be the catalyst persuading Putin to back a Security Council resolution to eradicate the Islamic State.

“Skirt-fronting” could well become the new buzz word in international diplomacy.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

You Did, Didn't You, Vicar?

Well, well, well.  What a surprise. (Not)

Doubtless certainly not to this bloke, Pat Condell, in his latest video:


As exposed by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and described in an article here, a publisher based in Nablus (Shechem), a city controlled by the supposedly moderate Palestinian Authority, has been  touting some unashamedly antisemitic literature at the Frankfurt Book Fare.

"Titles on offer from Bait Al-Maqdes ... with the PA's de facto approval" include, the article tells us:
'"The Zionist Deception Dictionary". A book based on the notorious "Protocols of the Elders of Zion". The "Protocols" have long been a favorite of Palestinian propagandists.
"Jewish Terms: Beware of Them! Another so-called reference volume. An example of a Jewish term of which the reader should beware: The “myth” of the “Nazi Crematoria.”
"Jews Converted to Islam by the Prophet", by Muhamad Ala Batir. A kind of ‘success stories’ volume.
"The Buraq Wall", by Jehad J. Al Ayesh. An entire book devoted to arguing that Jews have no connection or claim to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. “Worshipping at the Wall is a new heresy [propagated by] the religion of the Jews,” the book declares (p.31). The author rants about “Jewish subversion” (p. 31), “Jewish aggressions to Judaize the Wall” (p. 37), and the like. Not surprisingly, it concludes that “the Buraq Wall is the property of Muslims” and must be under exclusive Muslim control (p. 40).
A booklet called "The Jewish Plot to Establish a Temple to Judaize Jerusalem+. Standard Palestinian conspiracy-mongering."
Aha!

 Of course, you haven't been reading from that list, have you vicar?:

Our old friend on Facebook this very week

 And our old friend on Facebook today:



But, vicar,  you've recently returned from a conference in Teheran (I see you've posted your many happy snappies from that event onto Flickr), which reportedly included a number of Holocaust deniers (in the tradition of Iran's supreme ayatollah himself), a conference in which one session contained the following unsavoury menu:

Credit: http://blog.thecst.org.uk/?p=5084

And despite the Holocaust denial of Iran's rulers you attended a similar conference before, during the presidency of Ahmadinejad,who was largely obsessed with Holocaust denial.
 .
Needless to say, you told your Iranian hosts exactly how heinous and contemptible and downright racist their embrace of and continuing flirtation with Holocaust denial is, didn't you?

Well, didn't you?

Monday, 20 October 2014

BDS: The Sheep Who Roared ...

Photo: http://www.dailypost.co.uk
No, this is not George Galloway on a bad whisker day.  It's North Wales farmer Owain Williams, who according to Wikipedia
'is a fervent nationalist committed to an independent Wales. In the 1960s he was imprisoned for bombing the site of the future Llyn Celyn reservoir but later turned to the democratic route being the chairman of the Independent Wales Party as well as a member of, at different times, both the Welsh Labour Party and Plaid Cymru. In May 2008 he was elected chairman of Llais Gwynedd after their emergence following the 2008 Welsh Local Elections....''

The entry adds:
'In the summer of 2009,he was reported to the authorities for leaving the bodies of several dead sheep to rot in his fields.'
Ten days ago, Councillor Williams had better luck with a flock of live sheep, for a BDS motion
he introduced at the Gwynned council was passed by a whopping 42 votes to three, with six abstentions.

The local paper takes up the story:
'Gwynned Councillors have agreed not to conduct future trade with Israel in the wake of the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip.
In a full council meeting last week, councillor Owen [sic] Williams proposed a motion condemning Israel for the bombardment and ground invasion of the Palestinian territory.
He said:
“Following the latest attacks by the Israeli State on the territory of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, this council calls for the suspension of trading with Israel and condemns the over-reaction and savageness used.
Furthermore, we confirm and underline this Council’s decision not to invest in Israel or that country’s establishments.
We believe that if Gwynedd leads the way that there is hope that other councils in Wales and beyond will follow our example.” ...'
The local member, Plaid Cymru MP Hywell Williams, was suitably impressed with this ground-breaking move.  He was able to boast during last week's Commons debate regarding recognition of a Palestinian state:
"My local authority, Gwynedd, has taken a lead in condemning the Israeli Government for the indiscriminate violence used in the recent attacks in Gaza and will not invest in or trade with Israel."
Heady stuff, for a council whose normal agenda is concerned with such business as:

But there's no bite in these sheep, bleating about a trade embargo on a plucky little country that's just the size of theirs, for Gwynned council does no business with Israel in the first place.

Furthermore, to compound the absurdity of the situation, Gwynned council is in deep dreck.

To quote from its website:'
"People living in Gwynedd have the opportunity to have their say on what the Council’s priorities should be as it tackles the £50 million budget deficit between now and 2017/18....
The Council wants to hear the priorities of individuals, families, communities and businesses ..."
It seems a safe bet that passing motions advocating BDS is not a priority of anybody in the county except Owain and his flock.

Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Greens, they are the main demonisers of Israel in the Land of Song; here's a message from the latters' leader:


Incidentally, the next British council  that will debate a BDS motion will be Fife's, in Scotland, early next month.

 Meanwhile, Australian academic Associate Professor Philip Mendes has just written, from his standpoint as a moderare leftist,  another article arguing the follies and flaws of the BDS movement.

He concludes:
'Oslo and Geneva remain the benchmarks of any Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Both Israelis and Palestinians have legitimate national rights. There is no alternative to difficult mutual concessions and compromise. There is no alternative to a two-state solution which upsets both Greater Israel extremists who want to hang on to all West Bank settlements, and equally Greater Palestine extremists who hope to eliminate Israel. Neither Israeli Jews nor Palestinian Arabs are going to suddenly disappear. They will still be living side by side in 100 years time.
Progressive intellectuals on both sides have an obligation to meet and talk and debate until they find common ground that will provide a pathway to peace and reconciliation. Instead, the BDS movement proposes a ban on any dialogue that doesn't explicitly contribute to the end of Israel's existence. They eschew contact with those Israeli academics and intellectuals who are mostly likely to recognize Palestinian rights, and progress two states. And they do nothing to confront Palestinian reactionaries and religious fundamentalists such as Hamas.
Their activities will only lead to an ongoing nightmare for Palestinians and Israelis alike.'
See Mendes's entire article here

Sunday, 19 October 2014

'The "Don't Give Any Oxygen" Tactic That Many Jewish Communal Leaders Use Is A Failed Tool In Combating The Delegitimisation Campaign Against Israel'

"Recent developments signal that the prospect of Europe sliding into a new Dark Age is now a horrifying reality. It is as though all the elements negating the open society have been blended into a witches’ brew to undermine Europe’s liberal cultural ethos." 

So, inter alia, observed  Isi Leibler some months ago.

"First in line to suffer are the Jews, attacked from all sides, isolated, friendless and unable to adequately defend themselves. Their greatest threat is the rabidly anti-Semitic Muslims supported by anti-Semites from the far Left. This unholy alliance of religious and secular extremists employs radical anti-Israelism as a surrogate for traditional anti-Semitism and is now a fixture at Hezbollah and anti-Israeli demonstrations, where they wave placards and shamelessly accuse Israelis of emulating Nazis....
.... In a sense, it is even worse for Jews today than during the 1930s when at least the liberals and the Left combated anti-Semitism. What is more depressing is that, as a rule, the public is even more anti-Semitic than the government and perceives Israel as the principal source of global evil – no different to the Middle Ages when the Jews were regarded as the source of all natural disasters such as plagues and famine.
Despite the hullabaloo surrounding Islamophobia, it is Jews and not Muslims who require armed guards at their schools and houses of worship. And the hate crimes, now including murder, perpetrated against Jews are infinitely more acute than those suffered by Muslim minorities. Indeed it is preponderantly Muslims who are engaged in violence against Jews.'
Jewish communal leaders of the "trembling Israelite" type are a pathetic sight, wherever they are located.  When they prefer to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the realities described above, they are a menace to the interests of those they are meant to represent.
 '....  Islamophobia is a catch-all phrase used to demonize anyone who makes a legitimate criticism of Islam or Muslims. It is not irrational to fear the murder and terrorism perpetrated in the name of Islam; it is not bigoted to warn against the steady encroachment of Shari’a law or the connections between Islamic charities and terrorist money-laundering in London; it is not demonization to condemn Muslim attacks on women and girls or on freedom of speech. Yet all such opinions are damned as “Islamophobic” in order to silence them....
Anti-Semitism is the principal driver of murderous Islamic rage, not just against Jews themselves but against the Western world which Muslims believe the Jews control. It is the core not just of the war against Israel but the jihadi holy war against the West....
Surely, the religious and moral imperative for Jews is to fight the Islamic jihad against life, equality and freedom. Yet amazingly, the community leadership has made it instead a religious and moral imperative to attack those who are fighting Islamofascism....'

That is the commonsensical view of Marvellous Melanie writing here a few days ago with regard to .the Anglo-Jewish "leadership".

Unfortunately, there are Australian Jewish communal leaders of similar ilk, and compounding the felony has been the recent (22 September) much-derided failure of a Jewish federal Labor  (ALP) politician,no less a personage than former Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, on the ABC's Q&A program to counter the gratuitous anti-Israel rant by a Muslim fellow-panellist in what was supposed to be a segment about ISIS.  Mr Dreyfus has defended his silence on the grounds that he did not want to give Randa Abdel-Fattah's remarks oxygen, but as one of his critics, the stalwart Michael Burd,  remarks in the correspondence columns of the current Australian Jewish News:
'.... While Israel is facing an unrelenting demonisation campaign, and while so many Greens and Labor, are not shy to publicly support the Palestinians and vilify Israel, you had the opportunity to respond to Palestinian and Muslim activists on the panel but instead remained shtum.
The "don't give any oxygen" tactic that many Jewish communal leaders use is a failed tool  In combating the delegtimisation campaign against Israel and that is one of the reasons why we are losing the battle ....'
Michael Burd concludes:
'Perhaps I am cynical but I am sure Mr Dreyfus's large Muslim constituency ... had an influence on his relectance to stand up for Israel.'
 In her above-mentioned article Melanie Phillips concedes:
"Of course it is hard for Britain’s 280,000-strong Jewish community to have confidence in the face of (at a conservative estimate) three million British Muslims."
The same, can, I suppose, be said of Australia's 120,000 Jews, outnumbered in a small amount of time by a Muslim community that hardly existed 35  years ago yet now numbers 400,000  (600,000, according to some estimates).

Indeed (hat tip: reader Ian; see the full report regarding the  Aussie ex-prime minister's remarks here):
' .... Julia Gillard has taken a swipe at Labor colleagues who place their ties to voters in some Sydney electorates above their support for Israel.
 .... Certain ALP MPs in Sydney’s western suburbs have in the past been accused of pandering to their Muslim constituents on foreign policy matters relating to Israel.
 Gillard added, “I just think for some others there’s not the strength of connection that there should be and that we would hope that there would be in the future,” she said. Gillard said visiting Israel some years ago had given her “a sense of the complexity” of tensions with its neighbours. She critiqued the failed latest round of US-brokered talks between Israel and the Palestinians, saying negotiations had advanced to new stages, while previous stages had not been firmly settled.
Gillard: ‘Sydney votes trump support for Israel’ ....'
In any event, as Isi Leibler has warned:
Leftist anti-Israel types rally in Perth, WA ...
'It is surely high time for Diaspora leaders to stop living in denial and get their act together. Instead of competing with each other in oozing political correctness, they should display some backbone and call a spade a spade.
We are currently witnessing the greatest revival of global anti-Semitism since the Middle Ages. This permeates all classes of society, and, ranging from academics to illiterates and European leaders who retain office despite making unabashed neo-Nazi remarks about Jews to mobs at anti-Israeli demonstrations carrying placards “gas the Jews.”
It encompasses the entire political spectrum, but is spearheaded by liberals and Muslims. Muslim radicals relate to Israel in a manner reminiscent of the Church’s medieval attitude toward the Jews. They promote popular TV programs depicting the blood of Muslim children being used for baking matzot, and have revived The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a best-seller. They certainly compare favorably with the worst Nazi Jew baiting, with imams quoting genocidal religious texts to the faithful, inciting them to murder Jews, “the descendants of apes and pigs.”
... versus "Islamophobia" and for the misogynistic burka ...
It is macabre to observe the alliance between liberals and jihadists who represent the antithesis of everything the Left purports to represent. The extremist Islamists are the most reactionary elements in the world. They reject fundamental human rights, proscribe freedom of expression and religion, promote the degradation of women and, to this day, implement barbaric laws including stoning of adulterers and homosexuals and the amputation of limbs for petty crimes. More than 50 Muslim countries deny Judaism or Christianity equal standing with Islam....
Alas, Jews who exaggerate the presence of Islamophobia become leading proponents of the campaign to sanitize and understate Islamic extremism. This is especially bizarre, given that Jews, especially in Europe, but also increasingly in the US, are facing far greater threats of violence than Muslims. It is also synagogues, rather than mosques, which are continuously being desecrated and vandalized, in many cases by Islamists....
... yesterday(Saturday) ...
There is indeed a desperate need to encourage moderate Muslims. But appeasing the extremists and groveling to Muslim bullies merely emboldens them. There is not a single instance in history in which appeasing religious fanatics of any faith has brought about progress. If we allow ourselves to be intimidated or fail to confront Islamist jihadists, they will succeed in destroying the very tenets of our civilization.
This is an area in which Jews, who have the most to lose, must surely stand up and be counted.'

Friday, 17 October 2014

"The Problem Is Much Deeper Than ... An Extraordinary Animus Against Israel ... Israel Has Not Taken Seriously The Psychological War Against It"

Writes Middle East analyst Jonathan S. Tobin in the course of an article in Commentary magazine prompted by the Monday's vote in the House of Commons (about which I blogged on Wednesday), following upon Sweden's decision to recognise Palestinian statehood:
'[L]ike the “Free Gaza” demonstrations that rocked European cities this past summer while Hamas rockets rained down on Israeli cities, one has to wonder what exactly those advocating the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state think they are doing?....
[W]hich Palestine are we talking about?
Is it the Palestine of the Palestinian Authority that currently rules most of the West Bank, albeit under the security blanket of the Israel Defense Forces? ....That’s a Palestine that is supposedly ready to make peace with Israel but which requires the economic and political support of the West in order to survive.
But, in truth, that Palestine is a corrupt kleptocracy run by Mahmoud Abbas, a man currently serving the 10th year of a four-year presidential term. The Fatah-ruled West Bank is a petty tyranny that oppresses and robs Palestinians while raking in billions in economic aid from Europe and the United States. Its leader frequently tells Western and Israeli audiences that he is ready make peace on the basis of a two-state solution, but he also is adamant about being unwilling to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders might be drawn.
But since so much of the anger at Israel is about Gaza, the fact is all too many Europeans seem willing to overlook their usual abhorrence of terrorism and think of Hamas as a legitimate government of the strip, if not as partners with the PA. That Palestine is a brutally repressive Islamist regime that is allied with those seeking to overthrow moderate Arab governments. Like Fatah in the West Bank, it is not interested in bettering the lives of its people. But unlike the PA, which seems mostly interested in profiteering off of foreign aid, Hamas’s sole obsession is in replenishing its stores of rockets and ammunition and rebuilding its terror tunnels so as to be ready the next time it feels another round of fighting with Israel will be to its advantage. Hamas, which is more popular in the West Bank than Abbas and his party, is dedicated to ending the “occupation” but by that term they are referring to pre-1967 Israel, not forcing it to remove Jews from the West Bank or Jerusalem....
Were Europe’s governments or its pro-Palestinian demonstrators truly interested in peace, they would understand that unilateral recognition of independence is a way for the PA to avoid having to talk with Israel. ...If they wanted to support peace, they would tell Abbas to go back to the table with Netanyahu and to be prepared to recognize a Jewish state. They might also encourage him to get rid of Hamas, not become its partner.
[T]alk about recognition of Palestine without first requiring it to make peace with Israel must seen as not merely moral preening at Israel’s expense but a political manifestation of the same anti-Semitic invective that was so common during the “Free Gaza”'
Perversely, it already is, Rachel dear
Earlier this year, speaking in America to The Lawfare Project, the peerless Melanie Phillips explained cogently and compellingly, and with a sure grasp of the historical and political context, why Israel has become, for leftists, their central hate focus, with contributing factors including the fall of Communism, the end of apartheid in South Africa, the emergence of multiculturalism and fear of offending minoritiies*, of the the mindset that patriotism towards one's own nation is racist**, that warfare on behalf of one's own nation is unconscionable,  and that only minorities within society can be victims, and of the doctrine of individual rights as well as the return of the antisemitic medieval doctrine of Replacement Theology, which held that the Jews had been replaced by the Christians as the people of the Covenant; Replacement Theology has come "roaring back again" in the form of Sabeel and certain Western clergy (like Sizer, although she named no names) denies the Jews' rights to Eretz Israel, promoting instead the notion that the Palestinians are the rightful possessors.



* For grotesque examples in Britain this week see here
and here
** For a bizarre example in Australia this week see here

"The problem is much deeper than an extraordinary animus against Israel," she pointed out.
"It is axiomatic in Britain that Israel is the principal human rights abuser in the world .... [although it is] the one upholder of human rights in the [Middle East] region .... Human Rights ... has become a principal weapon of injustice ... the potential nemesis [of Western culture] ... "
She also pointed out that Israel has in many ways been its worst enemy.  It could and should exploit the emphasis on human rights to its own advantage, persuading a left-indoctrinated  public opinion to the truth of the matter: that far from being the oppressor it is sinned against rather than sinning:
"Israel has a compelling story about human rights ... Israel stands on very firm legal foundations in its occupation and in its settlements policy ....and ... can easily make a compelling case ... Israel [preoccupied by defending itself militarily] has not taken seriosly the psychological war against it...There is no collective endeavour ..."
Ms Phillips lamented Israel's failure to publicise the Levy Report (which Wikipedia introduces thus):
'officially called Report on the Legal Status of Building in Judea and Samaria ... an 89-page report on West Bank settlements published on 9 July 2012, authored by a three member committee headed by former Israeli Supreme Court justice Edmund Levy. The committee, dubbed the "outpost committee", was appointed by Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in late January 2012 to investigate the legal status of unauthorized West Bank Jewish settlements, but also examined whether the Israeli presence in the West Bank is to be considered an occupation or not.
The report concludes that Israel's presence in the West Bank is not an occupation,[and that the Israeli settlements are legal under international law....'
For the essence of the report in English, see here

And share it around a bit.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

After The Vote, A Top Tory Slams Israel's "Criminal Intent": Sir Alan Duncan's Vile & Vicious Speech to RUSI (video)


So the House of Commons has voted by 274 votes to 12 for the recognition of a Palestinian State.
 
Still, however much the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and other Israel-haters might chortle at the result at Westminster, and however disappointed those of us who love Israel and ache constantly for its welfare and security may be, this was hardly the "overwhelming" result that the ill-wishers are claiming.

The House of Commons has 650 members, of whom less than half voted on this issue, 44 per cent of all MPs.  Probably even fewer would have voted, had not Miliband's Labour Party imposed a three-line whip on its members.

The resolution calls simply for the recognition of a Palestinian State alongside Israel.  It says nothing about boundaries, Jerusalem, refugees, and the like.

Those who are inclined to see Mr Abbas and Fatah as moderate elements can comfort themselves with the thought that it will presumably strengthen them at the expense of Hamas.

 In any case, it has no legal force, and will not affect government policy.

One of the Conservatives who voted in favour of the motion was Sir Alan Duncan, an erstwhile hopeful for the Conservative Party's leadership.

In linking to a video (since removed from the internet) in 2011 showing Duncan ranting against Israel, I wrote:
'Here's Call Me Dave's Minister for International Development Alan Duncan echoing his master's own demonstrated ignorance of the conflict.  Evincing not an iota of sympathy for Israel, Duncan in self-righteous tones calls the security fence a "land grab" wall, and demonises Israel in other ways, just like the most egregious NGOs: assuming the 1949 ceasefire lines are definitive borders, falsely accusing Israel of "deliberately" stealing water in the Jordan Valley, and saying not one word about the terror threat that Israel constantly faces.'
 Here's what Wikipedia says about Duncan in relation to the notorious MPs' expenses scandal:
'On 15 May 2009, the satirical BBC programme Have I Got News For You showed footage of Duncan's previous appearance on the show in which he boasted about his second home allowance, denied that he should pay any of the money back and stated it was "a great system". The show then cut to footage of David Cameron announcing that Duncan would return money to the fees office, followed by Duncan's personal apology, in which he called for the system to be changed.
Duncan had claimed nearly £5,000 on gardening; pranksters from online magazine and marketing company Don't Panic paid a visit to his constituency home where they planted flowers in the shape of a pound sign on his lawn and left a money tree. On 14 August, Duncan said (whilst being filmed without his knowledge by Don't Panic), that MPs, who are paid around £64,000 a year were having, "to live on rations and are treated like shit. I spend my money on my garden and claim a tiny fraction on what is proper. And I could claim the whole lot, but I don't." These remarks attracted the attention of the press, and were criticised by commentators from all sides. Duncan apologised once more, and Cameron, though critical of Duncan's comments, denied that he would sack him from the Shadow Cabinet. Despite these assurances, on 7 September 2009, Duncan was "demoted" from the Shadow Cabinet, to become Shadow Minister for Prisons, after he and Cameron came to an agreement that his position was untenable.'
A man who knows all about "moral standing" and the nature of "theft", then.
 
Here's a brief video in which his behaviour at the time is lampooned (yes, that is Rolf Harris at the beginning of the Have I Got News For You! segment!):


Below is what Alan Duncan said yesterday, at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI, regarding Israel (note the nod to Baroness Warsi, the view that "settlement endorsement" should be put on a par with racism, sexism, and homophobia, his slap at "Christian Zionists", and his slamming of certain representatives of "Jewish groups" in Britain, his inveighing against party funding from pro-Israel groups, and the claim that anyone supporting Israeli settlements should be considered an "extremist' unfit to bear public office or stand for political election.

This particularly sticks in the craw:
 '....We need British Jews for the Conservative, Labour, or other UK parties; not the Israeli lobby for any party. The time has come to make sure above any doubt that the funding of any party in the UK is clearly decoupled from the influence of the Israeli state....
 The time has come for us to make an international stand on the principle of illegal Israeli settlements. All who converse, all who interview, and all who debate are entitled to ask their interlocutor for a simple answer to a simple question. ‘Do you agree that Israeli settlements outside the 1967 borders are illegal – yes or no?’
 If they give no answer at all, or equivocate, or actually say ‘no’, then we are entitled to brand such a person morally complicit in illegality, and therefore an extremist.
 Anyone who supports illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian land is an extremist who puts themself outside the boundaries of democratic standards. They are not fit to stand for election or sit in a democratic parliament, and they should be condemned outright by the international community and treated accordingly.
 Truth, principle, justice, morality, legality: they are all enduring values and they cannot and must not be bought or bullied into submission. For too long we have been too submissive on the principle of illegal settlements, and it is high time we stopped being so, and reasserted clearly and without fear, exactly what is legally and morally right and what is legally and morally wrong.'
 I cannot stress too strongly that this is a speech that MUST be endured until the end to appreciate how odious it is in great measure (the text version is here by the way):


Here's what Marvellous Melanie (on Facebook) says about the speech:
' Hard on the heels of the Commons vote recognising "Palestine", which I warned would strengthen those bent on Jew-hatred, comes this astonishing rant defaming both Israel and Jewish supporters of Israel by Sir Alan Duncan, David Cameron's special envoy to Yemen and Oman. 
Duncan's tirade presents a picture of Israel that is false and wholly distorted. The core of his spitting hatred is his claim that Israel's settlements are illegal. There is an authoritative body of legal opinion that shows they are not illegal at all; the illegality trope is merely an anti-Israel canard. But even if they were illegal, this would hardly justify Duncan's venom and vituperation which seem quite out of control. 
Thus he proposes that "settlement endorsing” should be regarded as on a par with sexism, homophobia and antisemitism. Pinch yourself: he's talking about houses for Israelis – built on land that is either legally bought from Arab owners or else legally built on land owned by nobody. And this he equates with antisemitism, the prejudice that has caused the persecution and mass murder of Jews. This is on a par with the mind-bending libel that equates Israelis with Nazis, in which the Jews are smeared by accusing them of the vileness of which they are in fact the victims.
Bizarrely, he claims that British policy has been that "on no account should we ever rock the boat by talking in tough language to Israel for fear of jeopardising the so-called Peace Process.” But HMG constantly upbraids Israel for its "illegal occupation" and settlements which it claims (quite wrongly) are scuppering the peace process.
He raves that it is “impossible to overstate the criminal intent and strategic importance” of Israel’s recently announced plan to build 2,600 homes in occupied East Jerusalem, which would “finalise the severing of Bethlehem from Jerusalem...This illegal construction and habitation is theft, it is annexation, it is a land grab – it is any expression that accurately describes the encroachment which takes from someone else something that is not rightfully owned by the taker,” he said.
It is impossible to overstate the wildness of these claims. Much of this building is only just over the 1947 ceasefire "green line". It is all land which in every set of negotiations has been understood and accepted by the Arabs will always be part of Israel. It is not stolen from anyone because either it is lawfully purchased or else it is not owned by anyone. And as was pointed out in this article: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/09/05/everything_you_know_about_israeli_settlements_is_wrong_1000_acres_west_bank
"Israel's actual settlement construction pace has reached a historical low. Only 507 housing units were approved for construction by Netanyahu's government in the first six months of 2014, a 71.9 percent decrease from the same period in 2013, with about one-third of those being built inside the major blocks that it is understood Israel will keep in any final status agreement. For a population of over 300,000 Israelis living in the West Bank, that pace of construction does not even allow for natural population growth, much less rapid expansion."
Duncan makes claims about allegedly vile behaviour by Jewish residents of Hebron which I have no means of checking are true or untrue. He makes no reference whatever, however, to the murderous attacks on those residents against which they have to be permanently guarded. He also claims that Israel practises apartheid; "as a description of Hebron it is both accurate and undeniable", he states. What is undeniable is that the apartheid claim is absolutely and ludicrously false. Hebron is not part of Israel and so its Arab residents are not Israeli citizens; the apartheid claim is therefore a baseless smear – and in its misrepresentation of the real thing also amounts to apartheid-denial. 
And then there are Duncan's most snake-like remarks of all:
"Sir Alan, a former Tory party vice-chairman, said that he deplored anti-Semitism and absolutely backed Israel’s right to exist as a state. But while the UK’s Jewish community should be valued for its contribution to the fabric of Britain, it was wrong to conflate all Jews with Israel. 'Our politics has rules and one important such rule is that our political funding should not come from another country or from citizens of another country, or be unduly in hock to another country,' he said."
What exactly is he saying? That Israelis are secretly bunging bribes to British politicians? That Jews who fund British political parties must not be supporters of Israel? That any Jew who is such a supporter must be suspect? Is this the accusation of dual loyalty that gets routinely flung at British Jews who support Israel? 
On BBC Radio's The World at One earlier, Duncan's Jewish conspiracy theory was rather less veiled."The United States is in hock to a very powerful financial lobby which dominates its policies", he said.
There is only one decent course of action for the Prime Minister to take in the light of the venom and bigotry displayed by his envoy to Yemen and Oman. He should sack him.'
Coming back to Monday's vote, that well-known British friend of Israel Professor Denis MacEoin expressed things cogently the other day when he wrote:
'Many politicians and members of the public have come to see Palestinians as the world's underdogs, who, however ugly their behaviour, can do no wrong; and to portray Israel as a Nazi state that persecutes the Palestinians and "steals" the land -- mystifyingly -- of a people, the Jews, who have lived on that land for roughly 4,000 years.
"In a final resolution, we would not see a single Israeli -- civilian or soldier -- on our lands." — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
 "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight and kill the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and the trees will say, O Muslims, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. " — Hamas Charter, Article 7.
 "[T]his struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated." Article 19, — Fatah [PLO] Constitution, as of July 19, 2005.
The British parliament, on October 13th, may be debating whether or not to recognize a Palestinian state.
Recognizing what in all likelihood would quickly become yet another Islamic terrorist state can only set a precedent that could have a disastrous impact on future negotiations and international law, and lead to the establishment yet more launching pads for people dedicated to violent jihad, not just in Israel, but, as they now openly admit, worldwide, including Britain and Sweden....
There is no Palestinian state to recognize in the first place: the Palestinians rejected the state they were offered by the UN in 1947, they have continued to reject it, and have for years been in breach of UN Resolution 242, to which they had agreed, that "Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force" since they demand withdrawal of Israel to the pre-1967 borders, something the resolution was carefully drafted to avoid. Unless Israel is given "secure and recognized boundaries." Such blasé repudiation of an internationally binding commitment is a breach only a totally illiterate politician would fail to see. So long as Israel is a state surrounded by violent countries such as Iran, Syria, Iranian-controlled Lebanon, Yemen -- as well as jihadist movements from Hamas to Hizbullah to Islamic State to Islamic Jihad, all overtly dedicated to its destruction -- no Palestinian state can be recognized....
Offering recognition to a "Palestinian State" only serves to give the Palestinians false hopes of achieving their ambition of wiping Israel off the map, literally -- it already started this process long ago by erasing Israel from all its maps -- and permanently upending the consensus of how international affairs are run.'
And as former Chatham House analyst Robin Shepherd's Commentator observes:
Monday's vote in the House of Commons aiming at recognising a Palestinian state is certainly historic, and in several senses. It's a historic mistake; a historic instance of ignorance and bigotry at the heart of the British political system; and a historic gift to Islamist terrorism.
The mind boggles. With opinion polls showing that Hamas -- as bloodthirsty a terror group as Islamic State -- would win Palestinian elections if they were held any time soon, a bunch of Labour-led buffoons in Britain think this is exactly the right time to reward terrorism....
 Who do these people think they are helping? Certainly not peace-loving Palestinians who are terrified at the prospect of a Hamas-led state. But, as we write this article from Jerusalem, and right after a trip to the West Bank, it is perfectly clear who would feel that they have benefited from British folly....'
See also characteristic good sense from Douglas Murray

Regarding Obama and settlements, Isi Leibler has a good piece here