Friday, November 27, 2009

A good joke

Look at these two grinning monkeys! The war criminal Ehud Olmert sneaked into Australia and today visited the federal parliament, where he was "warmly welcomed" by our own PM, Kevin Rudd, and other polly sycophants in thrall to the Zionist lobby.

Olmert was prime minister of Israel at the time of the Christmas Massacre, in which he unleashed the fourth most powerful army in the world against the defenceless, trapped and near-starving population of Gaza. Before withdrawing, his Zionist wehrmacht had managed to kill over 1400 and wound 5,000 souls. Most of the victims were civilians and many were women and children. Moves are afoot to have him face an international tribunal to answer charges of war crimes.

It is no wonder, then, that he chose to sneak into this country, accompanied by no fanfare but by a sizeable security entourage. Outrage against this reprehensible creature is widespread amongst the Australian community and he would have faced an entirely different public reception if he had chosen to arrive in a less secretive fashion.

Please contact Australians for Palestine (click on link at right) for details of where to lodge your protest.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Good guys

I have been urged to "say something positive" in this blog. Not so easy, when the lot of the Palestinians is becoming more desperate, day by day, and Israel continues its slide into fascism - as Gideon Levy observes, "Israel of 2009 is a spoiled country, arrogant and condescending, convinced that it deserves everything and that it has the power to make a fool of America and the world."

If one can say something positive about Israeli society it is this: there is a brave core of Israelis who speak out against the policies and actions of the state, who see the current course of events as being disastrous for both Israelis and Palestinians alike, whose moral decency will not allow them to stay silent. Many of them put their bodies on the line in defence of justice and truth.

There are the Shministim, school leavers who face jail rather than serve in the army of occupation. Other young and idealistic Jews - some, but not all, from Anarchists Against Walls - stand beside the villagers of Bil'in and Ni'ilin week after week, protesting the theft of village land. Members of the human rights groups, Peace Now and B'Tselem, are tireless in their efforts to document human rights abuses. The women of Machsom Watch stand at checkpoints, monitoring the behaviour of Occupation Force troops. Ex-soldiers from Breaking the Silence reveal the abuses taking place in the West Bank. Jeff Halper's ICAHD (the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions) opposes and resists Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes. And then there are the Rabbis for Human Rights, ordained rabbis and students, whose consciences will not allow them to stand by while abuses of Palestinian human rights take place.

There are others, of course, individuals of good character who speak out and stand up against the occupation. Unfortunately, they are a tiny minority in a country which is rapidly losing its soul.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Shehada Street

Beautiful buildings, suffering a slow death.

A young settler thug throws wine over a Palestinian woman.

Shehada Street, Hebron, once a thriving shopping destination, is now a place of fear. Because of its proximity to the ultra-orthodox Jewish settler colonies in Tel Rumeida it is a place to be avoided by the indigenous population, especially women and children. Physical violence and intimidation by Zionist thugs, with the passive encouragement of Israeli soldiers and police, is an everyday occurrence, part of a strategy to force Palestinians to abandon their homes. The Jewish holy day, Shabat, is especially feared as this is the day when young, frequently drunk, settlers go on the rampage.

Despite the presence of Christian Peacemaker Teams, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program, the UN Temporary International Presence in Hebron, the International Solidarity Movement and other human rights groups - all attempting to offer some degree of protection to the Palestinian residents - the attacks go on.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Architecture 2

The Flatiron Building (detail), New York.

Unidentified building, Hebron (Al Khalil), occupied West Bank.

A beautiful old building in Hebron (in the south of the occupied West Bank), unfortunately displaying years of impoverishment and neglect. Sandwiched between two converging streets, it is reminiscent - on a smaller scale - of New York's landmark Flatiron Building. Its graceful proportions, arched windows, supportive columns and loving attention to decorative details, place it within a tradition of fine Islamic architecture.

At street level almost all of the commercial spaces remain closed and shuttered. Beginning in 1979 eighty six Jewish families seized properties in this part of the city, establishing settler colonies under the protection of a heavy Israel "Defence" Force presence. Nearby shops have been forced to close by the Israeli authorities or have been abandoned in the face of settler attacks.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Ad in Haaretz
The online version of the English-language newspaper Haaretz provides a good insight into Israeli mindsets, with viewpoints ranging from those of left-wing/humanists to Zionist megalomaniacs. The pop-up advertisements also tell a story - of Israel as a European enclave, culturally isolated from its Arab neighbours. The Ashkenazi may have appropriated Palestinian foods (hommos, flat bread, etc) as well as Palestinian land and properties, but their cultural mores are still those of Eastern Europe and the United States.

This advertisement features a building, obviously of some age, built of the beautiful, cream Jerusalem stone in a style which was common throughout Palestine but which has, sadly, been eclipsed by less attractive concrete structures. One can see equally attractive examples of this architectural style in Ramallah, Nablus and Hebron, though many of them suffer from the neglect imposed by Israel's 40 year economic strangulation of the West Bank.

One wonders who were the original owners of the "Little House Hotel"? Under what circumstances did it pass from their hands, and when? Where does the family live now? As has been said of Jerusalem, "every stone can tell a story".

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Gilad Shalit

Most Australians would be hard pressed to name more than a couple of Israelis - and one of them is sure to be Gilad Shalit. The young armoured tanks corps corporal was captured in 2006 on the southern border of Gaza by members of the Palestinian armed resistance. Since then he has been held captive in a secret location somewhere in the Gaza Strip, while efforts to gain his release in a prisoner swap have come to nothing.

Israel currently incarcerates over 11,000 Palestinians in prisons within Israel, in harsh conditions and frequently subject to torture and medical deprivation. Many are imprisoned without charge, almost all are political prisoners. They include women, the elderly, community leaders, politicians and elected members of parliament (the moderate Marwan Barghouti, widely seen as a successor to Yasser Arafat, has been imprisoned since 2002 on trumped-up charges). More disturbing is Israel's practice of jailing children for demonstrating against the occupation, usually by throwing stones at Israeli tanks and armoured personnel vehicles.

The children of Bil'in are particularly at risk. Twelve of them have been imprisoned this summer alone. Stepping up their efforts to crush the popular resistance by villagers to the theft of their lands, the Israeli occupation forces now raid the village nightly, destroying property, terrorising the inhabitants and carting away the children and young men.

So, while I hope for Gilad Shalit's safe release, let's forget about him for a while - after all, he was a soldier on active duty, patrolling the open-air prison that is Gaza. Let's devote our thoughts and our sympathy for the 11,000 faceless and nameless Palestinians now rotting in Israeli jails.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Edward Kennedy RIP

Our newspapers, radio and television news have been full of tributes to the late Edward Kennedy who, for over 40 years, championed progressive causes in the US Senate. His reputation in the mainstream media has been lily-white.

Yet this is the same man who, late one night in 1969, drove his car off a bridge in Chappaquiddick and left a young woman - not his wife - to drown. He returned to his hotel and made 17 phone calls to family and friends before finally, 10 hours later, notifying police of the accident. Despite ongoing allegations of a cover-up the young Senator, third son of the wealthy and powerful Kennedy clan, was never prosecuted for his behaviour that night.

To many observers these were the actions of a man with no moral compass, preoccupied only with his self-preservation and advancement.

More significant, I believe, was his unremitting support for Zionism and the state of Israel. This is, of course, a prerequisite for anyone, whether from the Left or from the Right, intent on a lasting career in US politics. (And, may I add, with no moral compass.) Kennedy was yet another victim of the powerful Zionist lobby which has tainted generations of US lawmakers.

For an expert appraisal of Kennedy's relationship with the Zionist lobby go to Franklin Lamb's article, "Burying Ted Kennedy with the Israeli flag" in the Palestine Chronicle. (Click on link at right).

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bil'in: under the iron heel

Emad filming an Israeli incursion from the vantage of an olive tree.

One night last week, in the early hours of the morning, my friend Emad Bornat was kidnapped from his house in the village of Bil'in, blindfolded, handcuffed and dragged for a kilometre to a waiting Israeli army jeep. He joins other villagers (25 in the past week alone) who have been imprisoned without trial and subjected to harsh interrogation techniques.

Bil'in has had over 60% of its arable lands stolen for incorporation into nearby Jewish settlements/colonies. Frustrated at four years of popular resistance by the villagers (supported by Israelis of conscience and international human rights workers) the Israeli Occupation Force has intensified its repression. While continuing to respond to the regular Friday demonstrations with disproportionate force - including the use of live ammuntion against peaceful protesters - storm troopers regularly invade the village at night, terrorising the population and kidnapping leaders of the resistance. So far, their attempts to crush the spirit of Bil'in has failed.

Fears are held for the safety and well-being of Emad. He suffered a life-threatening injury several months ago and requires access to medication. Conditions in Israeli jails are harsh for Palestinian prisoners: humiliating conditions, medical neglect and, indeed, torture have been regularly documented. While Western governments (including our own) remain indifferent to Palestinian suffering, people like my friend Emad will struggle to endure under the iron heel of a brutal Israeli occupation.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Destroyers of Jerusalem

Jerusalem, the ancient walls.

Jerusalem - at least that part of it which has not been desecrated by Israeli destruction and development - is a beautiful city, one of the wonders of the world. It stands beside Venice as an architectural jewel. In 1967 the Old City and East Jerusalem fell into Israeli hands and the process of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian owners and residents began. It has continued ever since, despite worldwide condemnation.

Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom has referred to "The destroyers of Jerusalem - that brutal coalition of real estate sharks, fanatical Zionists, American millionaires and religious mystics". He might have added "aided by the government of Israel".

These reptilian creatures have redoubled their efforts to cleanse East Jerusalem neighbourhoods in recent times, forcibly expelling the native inhabitants, destroying homes and building apartments (for Jews-only) on confiscated land. President Obama voices his dismay and urges Israel to desist. Binyamin Netanyahu smiles his crocodile smile and treats him, and the world, as ever, with contempt.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Yesterday Julia Gillard boasted to the "Australia-Israel Cultural Exchange" (sic) assembled in Jerusalem that Australia was "the first to vote in favour of Israel's right to full independent nationhood and its right to live securely within defined borders", in the United Nations in 1947. She also made reference to Israelis living alongside "Arabs" - as though she couldn't bear to utter the word Palestinians.

The problem in all of this lies in the term "defined borders". What borders? The area allocated to Israel under the UN partition plan? The borders they established by military might in the 1948 Nakba? The borders they have controlled since their war of aggression in 1967? It goes on and on, the endless theft of land, the endlessly expanding state.

Since 1993 the PLO, under Arafat, and more recently Hamas have unequivocally supported Israel's right to exist - within its 1967 borders (whereby it occupied more than 78% of Mandated Palestine, leaving the Palestinians, the indigenous population, with the remaining 22%). But peaceful co-existence doesn't suit the Zionist colonial enterprise. It thrives on death and destruction, lies and deceit.

Meanwhile, those parliamentarians insensitive enough to accept a place in this latest all-expenses-paid junket to Israel do so - their salaries continuing to be paid by the Australian taxpayer - while our parliament is sitting! What absolute bloody cheek!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Natural growth

Ma'ele Adumim "settlement" in the distance.

All this talk of limiting Israeli colonial settlements on the West Bank to their "natural growth" is a red herring. All settlements built on the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 1967 are illegal. They have all been built on Palestinian land. If there is to be a two-state solution - Israel and Palestine, side by side - then they must go.

When the Israeli war machine rolled across the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967 it continued its policy, perfected in 1948, of driving the native population from villages of particular strategic interest. In scenes reminiscent of the Armenian holocaust Palestinians were forced to leave their homes at a moment's notice and driven away at gunpoint, before entire villages were bulldozed into dust.*

In 42 years under Israeli military occupation the rest of the land has been devoured by the cancer of settlement. Concrete excrescences dominate every hilltop. And still it goes on, the relentless theft of land and homes. The ethnic cleansing.

So I join my Palestinian brothers and sisters in saying "Forget the talk of natural growth. Respect international law. Force the Israelis to get out and let us, in our turn, bulldoze all evidence of their occupation."

See Reham Alhesi's article, "The Tale of 3 Cities", online at the Palestine Think Tank.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Jordan is Palestine

Moshe Arens

Looks okay, doesn't he? Avuncular, a family man. But then again, no, doesn't he remind you of Donald Rumsfeld - a bit creepy? Phrenology, physiology or the hairstyle aside, this is Moshe Arens, former Israeli Minister of Defence and Foreign Minister, now writing for Haaretz. Back then he was described as Likud's "right wing ideological anchor" - and you can't get more right wing than that! 

Arens is still singing from the fascist songbook: "Jordan is Palestine". He advocates giving Gaza to Egypt and the remaining Palestinian fragments of the West Bank (what he calls Judea and Samaria) to Jordan. Problem solved: get rid of all those pesky natives and we (Jewish) Israelis can get on with our faux-European lifestyles in blissful comfort, untroubled by any notions of justice, equality or human rights.

Arens and his ilk see no future for an independent Palestinian state, and the last thing they want is to incorporate Palestinians into Israel and give them equal rights and opportunities - thereby making Israel a democratic state for all its citizens. Hence their calls to carve up Gaza and the West Bank bantustans between Israel, Jordan and Egypt.

Unfortunately, this virus has affected Australia and a character named David Singer, a lawyer, has convened a group which he calls Jordan is Palestine International and promotes his vile notions via a blog: Oh dear.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oh Julia

Julia Gillard, the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia (and the first woman to serve as acting PM - while Our Kev was overseas) has built up her credibility since being appointed to the post. Attacks on her childless status and broad Aussie accent have rebounded on her conservative, Establishment critics. Indeed, she is widely seen as a future PM, clearly preferred to Rudd in a 2006 poll. 

However, by agreeing to head a 40-strong delegation of politicians, academics, journalists and business types to Israel, organised by the Zionist lobby group, the "Australia-Israel Cultural Exchange", Ms Gillard's political timing has deserted her. Israel's government, under the extreme right-wing Benjamin Netanyahu, is on the nose with an increasing proportion of the Australian electorate. Perhaps Rudd, with his finely-honed political cunning, realises this and is throwing poor Julia to the wolves. No doubt he has seen it all and heard it all on his two previous expeditions to Israel, in 2002 and 2005.

After undergoing the usual brainwashing at the swank American Colony Hotel (first class all the way, folks) the delegation will, briefly, travel to meet the supine and innefectual PA leadership in Ramallah with, probably, an obligatory photo-op at Sderot to follow. What is certain is that they will not be travelling to Gaza to witness at first-hand the devastation, disembowelling and starvation wrought by their Israeli hosts.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dancing to the devil's tune

Tents amidst the destruction of Jabalia, Gaza - 5 months after the massacres.

Israel continues to prevent the passage of building materials, medical equipment, books and toys and all but a trickle of essential food into Gaza. After its failed blitzkrieg in which it killed 1400 and maimed many thousands more, it persists with its policy of starving the helpless population into submission.

Meanwhile, foodstuffs, clothing and other essentials donated by the international community moulder in vast warehouses near the border crossing at Al Arish. The Egyptian government, in thrall to American foreign aid, will not allow them to be transported into Gaza and has demanded that all foods near their expiry date be distributed amongst the Egyptian population. All other consummables must be returned to the donor countries, who will be responsible for paying any storage and customs charges. (Shades of the Howard government's charging refugees for their food and lodgings while locked up in Australia's refugee prisons!)

So there we have it: Israel dictates policy to America; America, in turn, dictates policy to Egypt. Dancing to the devil's tune.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery with Yasser Arafat

Praise where praise is due. The Palestinians and their supporters have no better friend than the Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery.

Born in Germany, he migrated to Palestine with his family in 1933. At the age of 15 he joined the Jewish terrorist group, the Irgun (later to gain notoriety as the perpetrators of the massacre of the villagers of Deir Yassin), but left four years later, disenchanted with their bloody tactics. In 1948 he took part in the Arab-Israeli war as a commando. He was first elected to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, in 1965, and went on to found Gush Shalom (the Peace Bloc) in 1993.

Now aged 85, Avnery has survived death threats by rabid Zionists and a serious attack on his life. Undettered, he continues to criticise the militaristic and colonialist policies of Israel's political elite, arguing for the recognition of Palestinian human rights and justice for their cause with experience, intelligence and compassion.

Such men as Avnery - and there aren't many - will go down in history as the true Israeli patriots and friends of Jews worldwide. 

Click on the link to Gush Shalom for Avnery's latest article, "Quarrel on the Titanic".

Friday, May 15, 2009


Australia's Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd (known variously, if not affectionately, as Harry Potter, The Dentist and Kevin Rude - for his reported rudeness and bullying towards a female flight attendant whom he is said to have reduced to tears on a recent flight) replaced the never-ending and truly awful John Howard. Hopes that his Labor (sic)* government might adopt a less bellicose approach to foreign affairs have proved ill-founded.

While keeping in step with America in reducing our troop numbers in Iraq, Rudd has promised an increase in our military presence in Afghanistan, yet another unwinnable war and one which does nothing to advance Australian interests. Except to ingratiate us with our American allies.

Yet it is in his unswerving devotion to Israel, right or wrong, that our PM distinguishes himself. He has declared that support for Israel is "in my DNA". By making such a boorish statement and by unfailingly supporting and endorsing Israel's colonisation of Palestine Rudd has demonstrated that, to him, human rights are negotiable. It is also a slap in the face for the many Australians of Arab descent.

They say that we get the politicians we deserve.  For the sake of this country, I hope not.

* Labor has been the preferred spelling for the ALP for many years. It signifies a break with the past but, more than that, an identification with things American. Or maybe someone, somewhere, just couldn't spell.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Three artists from Gaza - Basel Almaqsi, Sharif Sarhan and Majid Sala - have created an art installation to commemorate the 14 doctors and paramedics killed during Israel's assault on Gaza. Using whatever materials came to hand they installed their visual requiem on the blackened, crumbling walls and in the rubble of the destroyed hospital at Tal el Hawa, south of Gaza City.

They embody the spirit of Palestine. Without art materials they continue to make art. Just as their fellow Gazans refuse to be starved and bombed into submission*.

* In the four months since the Christmas and New Year massacre, Israel (and its crony, Egypt) have allowed no building materials to enter Gaza, which remains in a condition of devastation. Medical supplies, clothing and foodstuffs rot inside huge warehouses at Rafah, on the Egyptian border. Only the barest essentials needed to maintain a semblance of life are allowed through.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rest in peace, Bassem

Bassem Abu Rahme, alive (photo courtesy of Khatija)

I have just learned that the young man murdered by an Israeli soldier at last Friday's demonstration in Bil'in, Bassem Abu Rahme, was someone I had met on a visit to the village last year. Fatal shootings and maimings of Palestinians by the Israeli Occupying Force are a weekly, if not a daily, occurence but somehow, if it's the face or name of someone you know, it brings the tragedy home.

The fact that Bassem was wearing a luminous yellow shirt (making him an easy target) and was standing with a group of journalists on a small hill, apart from the demonstrators, made no difference to his killer. He was shot, from a mere 40 metres distance, with a high-velocity projectile. As I say, an easy target.

Devout Muslims recite this verse upon hearing of a death: "To God we belong, and to Him we shall return". Small comfort to Bassem's family, to his friends and to all of us who admired his bravery and persistence.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Francisco Goya's painting, "The Third of May 1808" depicts the execution, at dawn on that date, of Spaniards who had resisted the occupation of their country by Napoleon's forces.  In Madrid, hundreds of citizens were rounded up and summarily shot. This powerful work is one of the archetypal images of the horrors of war.

In Bil'in yesterday a young man was shot in the chest and killed while protesting the ongoing theft of his village's lands. Once again, non-violent resistance to the Israeli military and colonial occupation has been met by deadly force. There will be no inquest, the killer will not be charged. Two hundred years have passed since the events which Goya depicted and what has changed? 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Guernica Revisited

The most famous anti-war image of modern times is Pablo Picasso's large mural, "Guernica".

It commemorates the 1937 bombing by German aircraft of Guernica, a small village in the Basque country of northern Spain, a bastion of Republican resistance to Franco's fascists. The raid targetted the civilian population, mostly women and children, gathered in the village centre on market day. The attack, which lasted for several hours, killed an estimated 250 to 1,600 as the warplanes repeatedly bombed and machine-gunned the defenceless population.

Hitler's forces carried out the raid in solidarity with their Spanish fascist allies and as an opportunity to test out new weapons. It may have been the first time that aerial warfare had been used to in an attempt to intimidate and demoralise a civilian population.

The lesson of Guernica has been well learned by the leaders of modern-day Israel. What else was the recent attack on Gaza for than to test out its arsenal of new weaponry and to bomb a defenceless population into submission? While it may have successfully tested the effect of white phosphorous, flechettes and new and horrifying munitions on human bodies, it failed utterly to demoralise a population of incredibly brave and resilient people. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Massacre of the innocents

"The Massacre of the Innocents" by the great Flemish master, Peter Paul Rubens, is probably the best known of the many interpretations of this theme by European artists. In almost every painting the "innocents" are women and children. Occasionally, animals, particularly horses, are depicted as the innocent victims of warfare and armed aggression.

What a treasure trove of ghastly images awaits any artist who chooses to focus on the recent massacres in Gaza! While Israel attempted to hide the gory details of its blitzkrieg from the eyes of the world - by denying entry to the Western media - photographs, amateur videos and graphic first-hand accounts have since emerged from within that charnel-house. Unable to run, with nowhere to hide, women and children, teenagers, medical personnel and all the other innocent victims were gunned down, maimed and bombed in their scores, in their hundreds.

It would take a Goya to visually enshrine the suffering of the poor people of Gaza. Meanwhile, we have the photographs, and the knowledge.  Lest we forget.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

We came, we saw, we destroyed.

A T-shirt with the image of a pregnant Muslim woman in the cross-hairs of a sniper's rifle and bearing the slogan "1 SHOT 2 KILLS".  Other shirts and caps, adorned with similar slogans, such as "WE CAME, WE SAW, WE DESTROYED". Such is the trophy clothing, boasting of rape, murder and destruction, printed and worn by members of various Israel Defence Force units.

Just another sign of the increasing callousness of those who make up "the most moral army in the world".

For the full story go to:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Human Rights (for some)

Homeless refugees in Gaza shelter in the ruins of their home.

Debate goes on in Australia about the need for a Bill of Rights or Charter of Rights. Those for such a document argue that it would guarantee and enshrine the basic rights of all citizens, to be upheld in our courts of law. Those against maintain that our rights are best preserved through the workings of the federal parliament - claiming that our elected representatives, not unelected judges, should be the watchdogs of our freedom and rights.  Some assert that Australia is the only Western democracy without such a bill or charter.

As the "only democracy in the Middle East" Israel would, one imagines, assume responsibility for the basic rights of all its citizens and those living under its military occupation.  But of course it doesn't. Only its Jewish citizens are entitled to the full protection of Israeli laws. Its Arab citizens enjoy only a second-class status. The Palestinians under its protection as an occupying power (in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem) face the theft and destruction of their property, imprisonment without trial, restrictions of movement and beatings and killings by army personnel, with no meaningful recourse to law. Land thefts and extra-judicial killings by agents of the state continue to go unpunished.

Such a debate as we are having in Australia is irrelevant in the context of Israel. When laws are enacted for the benefit of some, and denied to others, then surely this earns Israel the definition of a racist state. While it continues on its present course Israel will increasingly be seen as a pariah nation by the rest of the world.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

No more Holocaust movies

Last Sunday SBS television screened a Hungarian movie, "Fateless", about a Jewish boy's experiences in a World War 2 concentration camp. While I'm a fan of foreign-language movies on SBS, I couldn't bring myself to watch this one, though I had enjoyed a brilliant Israeli movie, "Sweet Mud", (about a boy growing up on a kibbutz in the 1970s) earlier in the week.

I have seen enough Holocaust movies to last me a lifetime, especially those of the Hollywood variety. There are many Jews, in Israel and worldwide, who are fed up with the incessant portrayal of Jews as victims. As the American academic Norman Finkelstein has argued in his book, "The Holocaust Industry", promoters of the Holocaust work to portray Israel as a victim state, thereby garnering it immunity to criticism of its horrendous human rights record.

Israel has, grotesquely, attempted to portray itself as the victim during the recent Gaza massacres. Meanwhile, it continues with the inexorable ethnic cleansing of the occupied West Bank. While it persists on its present path it can only fuel the fires of anti-Semitism worldwide.

I probably missed a really good movie, but until we start seeing similar treatments of the Palestinian Holocaust coming out of Hollywood and Europe then the subject is closed for me.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

We are already dead.

"What does it matter? We are already dead."

Eight words, two short sentences.  Spoken by a boy in Gaza this week, when he was warned against picking up a fragment of phosphorous, which burns through flesh tissues, right down to the bone (a memento courtesy of the Israeli Air Force).

Many Gazans feel that it is only a matter of time before Israel resumes its full-scale attack on their tiny, defenceless territory. And they could be right, particularly if Binyamin Netanyahu comes to power, with his stated intention of finishing the job.

And will our world leaders watch on, indifferent - as they watched the recent round of massacres -as the Final Solution unfolds? 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Land theft in Beit Furiq

Another roadblock between Nablus and Beit Furiq.

I reported in an earlier post how I had been invited to the village of Beit Furiq, east of Nablus, to witness damage done to a children's out-of-school facility by marauding Israeli storm troopers. The centre had just been refurbished using funds donated by AusAid - aid contributed by Australian taxpayers.

This week the Israeli army of occupation ordered five village families to vacate their homes which, they were told, are to be demolished. They will join 25 other families who have had their homes demolished and lands confiscated. Now, of the 18,000 dunums* of arable land belonging to the village, just 6,000 dunums remain.

The gradual ethnic cleansing of Beit Furiq will facilitate the expansion of several nearby colonial settlements, home to some of the most rabid and aggressive Zionist settlers in the West Bank.

* One dunum is approximately 1,000 square metres.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bil'in anniversary

This week marks the fourth anniversary of the farming village of Bil'in's resistance to the ongoing theft of its lands. Lying to the west of Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, Bil'in and the neighbouring villages have seen their agricultural lands substantially whittled away for settlements and Israelis-only access roads.

Each week scores of villagers, accompanied by international human rights workers and Israeli supporters, attempt to march from the village mosque to the site of the latest land theft. Each week they are confronted by heavily-armed Israeli storm troopers who retaliate against the peaceful protests with tear gas, stun grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition. 

Each week, in the village and in the olive groves, protesters are wounded, arrested, sometimes crippled and, occasionally, killed. Yet each week they come out again. It is this spirit which the Zionist state, for all its lack of moral scruples and much-vaunted military might, cannot break.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Ariel Sharon, the Butcher of Beirut, is still lying - for all I know or care - in a coma in some hospital bed.  In 1973 he proclaimed: "We'll make a pastrami sandwich of them...we'll insert a strip of Jewish settlements in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlements right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years' time, neither the United Nations nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart".  

In the 35 years since, he and his political heirs have worked conscientiously to fulfil his prophecy.

In West Bank villages I was asked, time and again: "Why won't the Jews live in peace with us? Why won't they share the land?" Sounds naive, doesn't it? But then the whole world has, for decades, been listening to the bullshit about the "peace process", watching on as Israel steals more and yet more of the Palestinians' dwindling land. Talking peace, stealing land. On and on.

It's time that the blinkers came off.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A tale of two countries

The bushfires which raged through the hills north of Melbourne this past week have ravaged many thousands of hectares of bushland, destroyed homes and businesses and caused the deaths of several hundred people. Messages of commiseration and offers of support have flooded in from around the world and Australia's politicians have expressed their sympathy and condolences for the survivors of the fires. Our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has been highly visible on television, hugging victims, listening to their stories and promising that their homes will be rebuilt.

Think back to January 6th, when an Israeli tank shell slammed into a United Nations school,*  killing 40 innocent Gazans and adding to the toll of over 1,300  (400 of them children) killed and 5,320 maimed during Israel's campaign of extermination. To this, Rudd's humanitarian response was, "Australia recognizes Israel's right to self-defence".

The victims of disasters, whether man-made or natural, deserve our compassion. When it is withheld or applied selectively we are entitled to know why. Rudd, like Obama, like most of the West's elected leaders, is just another opportunistic, run-of-the-mill politician who sees his or her political survival as dependant on kowtowing to Israel and the Zionist lobby. Shame on them.

* A reader has pointed out that the 40+ civilians were killed by a shell which landed on the periphery of the school, and not within the compound. This is true.  My apologies for consulting an earlier UN report which was challenged by the IDF who, somehow, seized upon this as justification for the slaughter. Middle East Reality Check (Useful Links) puts it very well in "Get UNRWA: the Ins & Outs of a Massacre".

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Woman Called Golda

Will the real Golda Meir please stand up?

The Australian actress Judy Davis was a signatory to a recent ad in the Sydney Morning Herald condemning the slaughter in Gaza. By doing so she has redeemed herself, in my eyes, for her misguided decision to take the role of the young Golda Meir in the 1982 movie A Woman Called Golda. (The older Golda was played, if you can believe it, by Ingrid Bergman.)

Golda Meir, the fourth prime minister of Israel, began life as Golda Mabovitz in the Ukraine, before migrating to the USA with her parents. After moving to Israel she changed her name to Golda Myerson, before finally settling on Meir. Said to be strong-willed and ruthless, she earned the nickname "The Iron Lady", 20 years before her English counterpart Margaret Thatcher succeeded to the title.  She asserted, famously: "There were no such things as Palestinians" and "They did not exist".

Davis and Bergman are just two of a number of Hollywood stars who have lent their talents (and their film star good looks) to glorifying the Zionist enterprise. Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint and Sal Mineo starred in the 1960 blockbuster, "Exodus", based upon Leon Uris's novel of the same name. A generation of gullible viewers in the West became supporters of Israel after watching this propagandistic fantasy. 

What next? Nicole Kidman as Tzipi Livni? Enough already. 

Good on you, Judy, for coming to your senses.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More on Monifa

There's something about babies, human or animal, which appeals to us at a visceral level. My son sent me the link below, just in case I hadn't got enough of Monifa, the infant baby hippo.

Watching the video clip, seeing how the zoo keepers handled the little creature with fondness and devotion, it escapes my comprehension how soldiers can become so de-humanised that they can slaughter children and animals in cold blood.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I am lucky

In October 2008 Sydney's Taronga Zoo saw the arrival of the first pygmy hippopotamus to be born at the zoo in 23 years. Australians were captivated by photos and video footage of the endearing baby animal. It was named Monifa which, in Nigerian, means "I am lucky".

Not so lucky were the animals in Gaza Zoo. When Israeli storm troopers mounted their devastating New Year blitzkrieg upon defenceless Gaza they spared neither hospitals, schools, mosques, trapped families, women or children - nor did they spare the animals in Gaza Zoo. After the Israeli incursion the zoo reeked of death, with the bodies of dead animals lying in nearly every cage. They had been shot at close range.

I doubt whether even Mark Regev, the Melbourne-born chief apologist for Israel's war crimes, would have the hide to suggest that these animals posed a threat to the security of Israel. Their only crime was to provide some pleasure to the children of Gaza, 1,000 of whom visited the zoo each day.

Israel has decreed to the people of Gaza: no food, no electricity, no medical supplies, and no pleasure!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Australia Day

Happy Australia Day! This weekend Australians are celebrating our national day by meeting up with their family and friends, gathering around barbecues and at picnic spots and, quintessentially, going to the beach.

When I saw this little family group at my local beach I couldn't help but think of the Ghaliya family. In 2006 they were enjoying an outing on a beach in Gaza when an artillery shell, fired from an Israeli naval vessel, targetted them. Seven members of the family, mostly children, were killed.  Dozens of others were injured. They were not Hamas. They were not firing rockets into Israel. Their crime was to be Palestinian.

On Australia Day I urge my fellow Australians to consider their good fortune. We live in a democracy (as do the people of Gaza) under no threat from a powerful, murderous neighbour which covets our land (unlike the people of Gaza). Spare a thought for those whose human rights have been trampled underfoot.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Blame the victim

Now that most of the brave Israeli soldiers are back home, enjoying a well earned rest, the world can finally see the fruits of their endeavours. Much of Gaza is an apocalyptic, pulverised hell, from which dead bodies are still being dragged. Most Israelis, we are told, are indifferent to the photos of carnage, destruction and suffering coming out of Gaza.

So, it seems, are the European leaders - Brown, Sarkozy, Burlesquoni (oops, Berlusconi) and Merkel - who have rushed to the region to offer their unqualified support to Israel, with not a word of condemnation for the murder and mayhem unleashed upon a defenceless population by that rogue state.

I turn to an Israeli commentator, Gideon Levy, to state the obvious. "......Israel is a violent and dangerous country, devoid of all restraints and blatantly ignoring the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, while not giving a hoot about international law." Unfortunately, while world leaders are unwilling to demand that Israel adopts the same moral code as the rest of the civilized world, Palestinian suffering and dispossession will continue and the region will know no peace.

For an excellent analysis read Jeremy Salt's piece, "Sacrosanct State and Complacent West" in the Palestine Chronicle. See Useful Links at right.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Victory celebrations

One of the most enduring images from the conflict has been that of Jewish civilians dancing and singing on a hill overlooking Gaza as the massacre continued into its third week. Their joy at the turkey shoot unfolding below was shared by over 90% of Israel's Jewish population, we are told.

Later there was the video footage of  IDF soldiers sitting atop their tanks as they retreated from Gaza, tired but happy and celebrating a job well done. Did they celebrate while they burned babies to charred crisps, I wonder? While they laughed and set their dogs onto the corpses of children? When they used the small, dead bodies for target practice?  (Eye-witnesses among the survivors of the Gazan inferno testify that they did this and more, much more.) These young men appeared to show no remorse for what they had done. Indeed, their smiles and victory signs for the cameras indicated that they took our approval of their heinous deeds for granted.

In Ali Abunimah's words, Israel "possesses the power and lack of moral restraint necessary to commit atrocities against a population of destitute refugees". It uses its massive power, not in self-defence but in order to establish a Jewish state in all of an ethnically-cleansed Palestine. Celebrating civilians and proud soldiers are the visible manifestations of a vile, pariah state. Please raise your voices in protest.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Third Sydney rally for Gaza

On Sunday 18th January Sydney held its third, and largest, rally in support of the people of Gaza.  At the Town Hall the crowd was addressed by, amongst others, Sheikh Taj al-din al-Hilaly, author and activist John Pilger and a speaker who likened the suffering in Gaza with that of Australia's aborigines. (For international readers I wish to point out that the Australian government does not have a policy of attacking its aboriginal citizens with phosphorous bombs, artillery, tanks, Apache attack helicopters or F16 fighter bombers.)

The best street theatre was provided by a costumed woman of mature years who brandished a roll of toilet paper upon which was printed the likeness of George Bush Jnr. As she unravelled it onlookers took the opportunity to despoil it in various creative ways. In amongst the Hizballah and Hamas flags were plenty of CFMEU banners and Greens Party placards, signalling a welcome Green presence, at last.

The procession wound its way through the city to Hyde Park for more speeches and the distraction of three young females and a young male of Middle Eastern appearance who waded through a fountain to attach a Palestinian flag and banner upon a civic statue. Members of the NSW police riot squad soon joined them there in what I took to be a spontaneous act of solidarity.