Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Spain's Tony Blair

What a piece of work is (this) man:

"This time it was Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. I am especially aggrieved at the brutal violence that has left dozens dead and injured in one of Europe's most important cities and one of the places I love the most... ," writes former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar in yesterday's Australian (For us not to be defeated, we must defeat terrorists).

Aznar, you'll recall, Spain's prime minister from 1996-2004, joined the 2003 Bush, Blair, Howard jihad against Iraq, which opened that country up to al-Qaida, led directly to the Madrid train bombings of March 2004  (192 killed and over 1,800 wounded), and contributed to his massive defeat in the 2004 Spanish elections.

"A personal responsibility is linked with a political purpose within those who voluntarily sign up for this jihad in its different manifestations. Any anti-terrorist policy that wishes to be successful must actively address these two aspects. In this respect, any self-blame, any reasoning designed to ignore the underlying political purpose, any desire to excuse the terrorist or blame the societies that suffer terrorism - including those with Muslim majorities - is completely out of place." (ibid)

But for Aznar there was no "personal responsibility" attached to "voluntarily signing up" to Bush's jihad in Iraq, nor one iota of "self-blame":

"I am going with my head held high and proud of the job I have done," he declared after being booted out of office in 2004. (Spain's Aznar: No regrets on Iraq War, foxnews.com, 22/3/04)

And, when asked how he felt about the carnage in Madrid, he uttered these words:

"Calm, serene, fulfilling my responsibilities and obligations as always... I see a lot of light in hope and in the future."

Maybe that explains why this war criminal is now a director of News Corp and opining in Murdoch's Australian.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Palestine Can Wait

Not just criminal, cutthroat scum, but mega-delusional as well:

"Spain has been a serious target for Islamic State because of its five-centuries-old land claims to the territory of Melilla and Ceuta, on the African continent bordering Morocco. The Counter-Terrorism Project reports: 'Spain's current anxieties are exacerbated by ISIS, al-Qa'ida, and other Islamist groups' vows to 'reconquer' what they refer to as 'al-Andalus',' the historic Arabic name for the Iberian mainland. Up until the late 15th century, large parts of Spain and Portugal were under the control of an Islamic caliphate. Spain is thus considered part of 'occupied lands' by jihadists and a legitimate target for re-inclusion in a future Islamic Caliphate. A Spanish-speaking ISIS member declared in 2014, 'I tell you, Spain is the land of our forefathers, and, Allah willing, we are going to liberate it, with the might of Allah...'

"Last year Islamic State called on its followers to attack Spanish tourist sites to avenge the crimes committed by Spain against Muslims, referring to the bloody 1212 Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa where 60,000 Muslims were killed." (Tougher controls thwarted attacks, Jacqueline Magnay, The Australian, 19/8/17)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Educating Macron

Shlomo Sand's Why I cannot be a Zionist: an Open Letter to Emmanuel Macron:

"As I began reading your speech on the commemoration of the Vel d'Hiv round-up... I was grateful that you... took a clear position... yes, France is responsible for the deportation [of Jewish origin people to the death camps], yes, there was anti-Semitism in France before and after the Second World War... I saw these positions as standing in continuity with the courageous statement you made in Algeria, saying that colonialism constitutes a crime against humanity. But... I was rather annoyed by the fact that you invited Benjamin Netanyahu. He should without doubt be ranked in the category of oppressors, and so cannot parade himself as a representative of the victims of yesteryear...

"I stopped being able to understand you when, in the course of your speech, you stated that 'Anti-Zionism... is the reinvented form of Zionism.' Was this statement intended to please your guest, or is it purely and simply a marker of a lack of political culture? Has this former student of philosophy... read so few history books that he does not know that many Jews or descendants of Jewish heritage have always opposed Zionism, without this making them anti-Semites? Here I am referring to almost all the old grand rabbis, but also the stances taken by a section of contemporary orthodox Judaism. And I also remember figures like Marek Edelman, one of the escaped leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, or the communists of Jewish background who took part in the French Resistance in the Manouchian group, in which they perished. I also think of my friend and teacher Pierre Vidal-Naquet and of other great historians and sociologists like Eric Hobsbawm and Maxime Rodinson... And finally I wonder if you seriously expect of the Palestinians that they should not be anti-Zionists!

"Nonetheless, I suppose that you do not particularly appreciate people on the Left, or, perhaps, the Palestinians. But knowing that you worked at Rothschild Bank, I will here provide a quote from Nathan Rothschild. President of the union of synagogues in Britain, he was the first Jew to be named a lord in the United Kingdom, where he also became the bank's governor. In a 1903 letter to Theodor Herzl, the talented banker wrote that he was anxious about plans to establish a 'Jewish colony'; it 'would be small and petty, Orthodox and illiberal, and keep out non-Jews and the Christians.' We might conclude that Rothschild's prophecy was mistaken. But one thing is for sure: he was no anti-Semite!

"Of course, there have been, and there are, some anti-Zionists who are also anti-Semites, but I am also certain that we could find anti-Semites among the sycophants of Zionism. I can also assure you that a number of Zionists are racists whose mental structure does not differ from that of other Judeophobes: they relentlessly search for a Jewish DNA (even at the university I teach at).

"But to clarify what an anti-Zionist point of view is, it is important to begin by agreeing on the definition of the concept 'Zionism', or at the very least, a series of characteristics proper to this matter... First, Zionism is not Judaism. It even constitutes a radical revolt against it. Across the centuries, pious Jews nurtured a deep ardour for their holy land, and more particularly for Jerusalem. But they held to the Talmudic precept intimating that they should not collectively emigrate there before the coming of the Messiah. Indeed, the land does not belong to the Jews, but to God. God gave and God took away again; and he would send the Messiah to restore it when he wanted to. When Zionism appeared, it removed the 'All Powerful' from his place, substituting the active human subject in his stead.

"We can each give our own view on the question of whether the project of creating an exclusive Jewish state on a slice of land with a very large Arab-majority population is a moral idea. In 1917, Palestine counted 700,000 Arab Muslims and Christians and around 60,000 Jews, half of whom were opposed to Zionism. Up till that point, the mass of the Yiddish-speaking people who wanted to flee the pogroms of the Russian Empire preferred to migrate to the American continent. Indeed, two million made it there, thus escaping Nazi persecution (and the persecution under the Vichy regime).

"In 1948 in Palestine there were 650,000 Jews and 1.3 million Arab Muslims and Christians, 700,000 of whom became refugees. It was on this demographic basis that the State of Israel was born. Despite that, and against the backdrop of the extermination of the European Jews, a number of anti-Zionists reached the conclusion that in the name of avoiding the creation of fresh tragedies it was best to consider the State of Israel as an irreversible fait accompli. A child born as the result of a rape does indeed have the right to live. But what happens if this child follows in the footsteps of his father?

"And then came 1967. Since then Israel has ruled over 5.5 million Palestinians, who are denied civil, political and social rights. Israel subjects them to military control: for part of them a sort of 'Indian reservation' in the West Bank, while others are locked up in a 'barbed wire holding pen' in Gaza (70% of the population there are refugees or their descendants). Israel, which constantly proclaims its desire for peace, considers the territories conquered in 1967 as an integral part of the 'land of Israel,' and it behaves there as it sees fit. Thus far 600,000 Jewish-Israeli settlers have been moved in there... and this has still not ended!,

"Is that today's Zionism? No!, reply my friends on the Zionist Left - which is constantly shrinking. They tell me that we have to put an end to the dynamic of Zionist colonisation, that a narrow little Palestinian state should be created next to the State of Israel, and that Zionism's objective was to establish a state where the Jews would be sovereign over themselves, and not to conquer 'the ancient homeland' in its entirety. And the most dangerous thing in all this, in their eyes, is that annexing territory threaten's Israel's character as a Jewish state.

"So here we reach the proper moment for me to explain to you why I am writing to you, and why I define myself as a non-Zionist or anti-Zionist, without thereby becoming anti-Jewish. Your political party has put the words 'La Republique' in its name. So I presume that you are a fervent republican. And, at the risk of surprising you: I am, too. So being a democrat and a republican I cannot - as all Zionists do, Left and Right, without exception - support a Jewish State. The Israeli Interior Ministry counts 75% of the country's citizens as Jewish, 21% as Arab Muslims and Christians and 4% as 'others' (sic). Yet according to the spirit of its laws, Israel does not belong to Israelis as a whole, whereas it does belong even to all those Jews worldwide who have no intention of coming to live there. So for example, Israel belongs a lot more to Bernard Henri-Levy or to Alain Finkelkraut than it does to my Palestinian-Israeli students, Hebrew speakers who sometimes speak it better than I do! Israel hopes that the day will come when all the people of the CRIF ('Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France') and their 'supporters' emigrate there! I even know some French anti-Semites who are delighted by such a prospect. On the other hand, we could find two Israeli ministers close to Netanyahu putting out the idea that it is necessary to encourage the 'transfer' of Israeli Arabs, without that meaning that anyone demanded their resignations.

"That, Mr President, is why I cannot be a Zionist. I am a citizen who desires that the state he lives in should be an Israeli Republic, and not a Jewish-communalist state. As a descendant of Jews who suffered so much discrimination, I do not want to live in a state that, according to its own self-definition, makes me a privileged class of citizen. Mr President, do you think that makes me an anti-Semite?" (counterpunch.org, 11/8/17)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Innocent Bystander in Tough Neighbourhood...

... strikes again, and again, and again, and again, and again [...]:

"Providing the most specific details yet on Israel's ongoing series of military strikes inside war-torn Syria, Air Force Chief Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel revealed today that Israel has carried out nearly 100 distinct military actions over the last five years specifically related to what they believed were Hezbollah-bound arms convoys." (Air Force chief: Israel has attacked Syrian arms convoys nearly 100 times in 5 years, Jason Ditz, antiwar.com, 16/8/17)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Four Corners' Hatchet Job on Lee Rhiannon

It is always worth keeping in mind that, despite the lurid fantasies of the right-wing nut jobs at News Corpse to the effect that the ABC is a bastion of leftist radicalism, the state broadcaster is in fact merely the propaganda arm of the Australian establishment.

Last night's Four Corners program, Inside the Greens: A Party in Turmoil, which featured former Greens leader Bob Brown and others attacking NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, was a case in point.

Cast your mind back to 2010-2011, when Sydney's Marrickville Council, dominated at the time by The Greens, bravely took a stand for Palestine by adopting a pro-BDS policy against the purchase of Israeli products, and when its Greens Mayor, Fiona Byrne only narrowly failed to snatch the NSW state seat of Marrickville from Labor for her party at the 2011 state election.

Many of Rhiannon's detractors on Four Corners have form going back to that time. Here's a reminder:

Sally Neighbour, the current executive producer of Four Corners, used to write for Murdoch's Australian, and earlier took The Greens to task (Divided we fall) in Morry Schwartz's The Monthly. (See my 3/2/12 post Get Rhiannon! 2)

Richard Di Natale, the current federal leader of the party, once cluelessly agreed to the proposition that the Palestinians should "recognise Israel's existence as a Jewish state," before later backtracking when apprised of the implications of what he'd said. (See my 23/5/15 post Richard Di Natale Reclassified.)

Bob Brown, the party's founder, has attacked the NSW Greens in the Murdoch press, claiming NSW Greens' support for BDS was "against his advice" and urging the branch to stick to "bread-and-butter issues." (See Bob Brown & A Failure of Courage, 1/4/11)

Ian Cohen, a former NSW Greens MLC, has condemned his party's support for BDS as "old style" and expressed concern about "Jewish community outrage." (See my 31/3/11 post Kahane Down Under?)

Christine Milne, Di Natale's predecessorhas spoken out against BDS, travelled to Israel (although whether or not at her own expense we do not know), and once spoke in favour of regime change in Libya. (See Some Questions for Christine Milne (21/4/12), Has Christine Milne Been Rambammed? (11/7/14), A Gripe About The Greens (24/3/11))

Jeremy Buckingham, a NSW Greens MLC, joined the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel and signed the so-called London Declaration on Combatting Antisemitism. (See my 27/5/13 post Et tu, Jeremy?)

The issue of the NSW Greens' support for Palestine emerged only obliquely in the program. Presenter Louise Milligan's bias against that support, however, was clear at this point:

Milligan: While her leader is travelling the country, trying to hold his party together, Lee Rhiannon has flown to the Middle East and is crossing into Palestine.
Rhiannon: When you see it like that you can see why they call it an apartheid wall. What you see when you arrive in this country is apartheid. From the West Bank to Gaza, people are treated as second class citizens. Their human rights are ignored or abused.
Milligan: And she's still lobbing political grenades at her party: reviving a campaign to boycott Israeli businesses in Australia which has seen a backlash against the Greens in the past.
Rhiannon: There is a value in this campaign, and it's a reminder of why people like ourselves in Australia and around the world... it's time to reassess this form of struggle, because there are very clear examples of the value it brings to solidarity and the results it can achieve.
Milligan: Her leader disagrees.
Di Natale: It's not something that the Australian Greens have ever supported. It's not something that I support.
Milligan: It's these sorts of clashes with the federal party that have prompted the Greens elders to tell Four Corners it's time for Senator Lee Rhiannon to go.
Brown: Oh, well, you know, I've been living with Lee for 30 years, but it's the end of Lee's reign. The end is nigh, and I look toward the future.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Israel's 'Soul'

Israel's soul laid bare on a comedian's stage, says the headline of Agnes Nieuwenhuizen's review of Israeli writer David Grossman's A Horse Walks into a Bar in The Australian (12/8/17).

Opening sentence:

"Don't miss David Grossman's A Horse Walks into a Bar, a novel that offers profound insights into the soul of a nation and of one of its hapless citizens... "

So ethnocratic, apartheid states have souls? Interesting...

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Tim Fischer on John Lyons

Here's an excellent letter from today's Australian by former deputy prime minister (1996-1999) under John Howard, Tim Fischer:

"There is the good, the bad and the ugly in the Middle East. The Six-Day War reportage on its 50th anniversary year 2017 has been skewed, or was until the publication of the penetrating book Balcony Over Jerusalem by John Lyons. This book is the first in years to give a mention of substance to what happened on the fourth day when Israeli forces killed 34 US sailors on the USS Liberty, quickly apologised and paid reparations. Israel downplayed the saga while the US mounted a huge cover up, all exposed by the quotes Lyons has dug out, especially from Adlai Stevenson.

"Aligned spokesmen for Middle East countries will always skip over the ugly as they promote their country's perceived interests. Lyons details how parts of the honest debate on such issues as West Bank occupation in Israel are shut out of debate here in the Australian media and public domain. It is a subject that needs to be tackled for the truth to come out on the many complexities of the Middle East. It must be told without filters, shutters and threats." Mudgegonga, Vic