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.