Israel, on the other hand, is the country that can do no right, blamed for a large share of the ills that beset the region if not the world. Even its friendliness to the gay community (in a recent poll Tel Aviv was rated the world’s top gay tourist destination) is derided at academic conferences as pinkwashing designed to mask its repression of the Palestinians. Meanwhile in Teheran gays are publicly lynched from cranes. No resolutions or conferences about that, needless to say. The Left has a singular obsession with the real or imagined misdeeds of Israel, giving little or no attention to far greater humanitarian calamities such as the conflict in Syria and Iraq.
The thing I find particularly disturbing is not legitimate criticism of Israel but the tacit or explicit support given to a movement that embodies everything the Left should stand against, one face of a hideous barbarism afflicting multiple locations throughout the Islamic world. It is impossible to reasonably pass judgement on the Israelis without taking account of the nature of their adversaries. This the ‘pro-Palestinian’ Left seems incapable of doing, and in effect ends up lending support to a futile and destructive rejectionism that will ensure the continuing immiseration of the Palestinians."Peter Slezak, and makes such good points in defence of Israel that it deserves to be read in full here.
Last month, Melissa Parke, Labor member for Fremantle, WA, in the federal House of Represntatives, became the darling of the Israel-hating Left in Australia when she broke ranks with her party to defend the despicable BDS movement, insisting that it is not antisemitic.
In doing so, Ms Parke, who has form when it comes to demonising Israel, cited some very dodgy "authorities".
As Peter Wertheim, executive director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, (ECAJ) and that organisation'spublic affairs director, Alex Ryvchin, noted soon afterwards:
'.... In her attempt to distinguish between hatred for the Jews as a people and hatred for Jews as a people with a national home, the Labor Member for Fremantle relied on the views of former UN-official Richard Falk.
Falk is known as a "9/11 conspiracy theorist", and was denounced, including by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, for vile comments blaming the Boston terrorist attack on "the American global domination project" and "Tel Aviv."
So extreme are Falk's views that the Palestinian Authority requested that he step down from his position as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories because they considered him to be a partisan of Hamas and opposed his deeply offensive references to the Holocaust.
To build the case for BDS, Parke also quotes Peter Slezak, of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network. Just hours after a bus-load of Jewish primary school children were threatened in Sydney with having their "throats cut" and were subjected to shouts of "Heil Hitler" and "all Jews must die", Slezak declared that "Jews are fair game because of their influence and militant support for crimes of [the] Jewish state." Slezak insists that he meant Jews were "only" fair game for criticism, but this is belied by the timing and context of his comment."They went on:
'The dishonesty and extremism of what Parke calls the "official BDS campaign" is evident.
The founder of the BDS movement, Omar Barghouti, claims Palestinians have a "right to resistance by any means, including armed resistance," and denies that the Jews are a people or have a connection to the land of Israel.
Other leading figures in the movement have openly asserted the campaign's purpose of destroying Israel....
Parke's speech in support of BDS is symptomatic of the same psychosis for which Richard Falk has been roundly condemned. It places all the ills of the Middle East, if not the world, at the feet of Israel.
Parke even goes so far as to link the scourge of militant Islam with the actions of Israel and implies that BDS is part of the solution. What connection Israel has to the marauding jihadists consuming much of Africa and the Middle East, Parke does not tell us. Israel's only involvement in the Syrian tragedy that spawned IS and which has claimed, in just a few years, far more lives than the Arab-Israeli conflict has in over six decades, is to smuggle wounded Syrian civilians across the border and heal them free of charge in Israeli hospitals.
Every party in the Federal Parliament and in the State or Territory parliaments has rejected the anti-Israel BDS campaign, and leaders of the Coalition, Labor and the Greens have denounced BDS publicly more than once.
More importantly, Australians have shown no tolerance at all for the fringe groups that picket chocolate shops, university centres that try to exclude Israeli academics, or local councils that seek to spend ratepayers' money on anti-Israel crusades.
Parke's public endorsement of a campaign that is at best dishonest and at worst racist, will disgust all people of goodwill who support a Palestinian State alongside Israel, something that BDS staunchly opposes. ...'More recently, former Australian Foreign Minister and former president of Labor Friends of Israel Bob Carr's much-flaunted decision to become patron of Labor Friends of Palestine has, deservedly, attracted widespread derision from Jewish and other pro-Israel sources.
Speaking to the Australian Friends of Palestine Association (a most active ratbag crowd of BDSers; latest video below) in Adelaide, Carr said, in part:
"Pennant Hills Golf Club in Sydney is an unusual place for an epiphany on the changes in Israel. Still, it was there I met a Christian volunteer who went to the occupied territories to escort Palestinian children to school, to protect them from verbal and physical violence by Israeli settlers.
Violence against Arab kids? Christian volunteers to protect them? From Jewish settlers?
None of this was around in 1977 when I rented a room in Sydney Trades Hall and called on Bob Hawke, ACTU president, to help me launch Labor Friends of Israel.
In 1977 the Israeli occupation was 10 years old. There were 25,000 settlers. It was easy to believe the Israelis were holding the West Bank only as a bargaining chip. Arabs were terrorists.
Now the occupation has lasted 47 years. There are 500,000 settlers. Up to 60 per cent of the Israeli cabinet is on record as opposing a two-state solution. Palestinians have been part of a peace process for 25 years....
In 1977 the Palestine Liberation Organisation was blowing up planes. Now for 25 years Palestinians have been committed to a negotiated solution, most recently to a demilitarised state with the presence of a US-led NATO force on the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
In 1977 when we launched Labor Friends of Israel we knew, to our disgrace, none of their narrative....
From the writers of The West Wing came this. Discussing Gaza and the West Bank, a White House adviser says to another, “Revolutionaries will outlast and out-die occupiers every time.” No other colonial rule has survived, let alone with rich settlers on fortified hilltops with Los Angeles lawns, the wretched huddled in the gullies, their 12-year-old kids subject to military arrest and detention.
We have politely pitched the case for Palestinian statehood as creating security for Israel. But in view of the settlements and settler violence, I now pitch the case in terms of the rights of the Palestinian people, recognised in international law and every draft peace statement supported by the world for a quarter of a century.
Palestinians must commit to non-violent resistance, not a third intifada. They must build international support. They must engage with the righteous Jews who condemn the takeover of Zionism by the fanatics.
Forty years ago I signed up to be president of Labor Friends of Israel; I still count myself a friend of the liberals in that country but it serves the cause of a just peace better by me this week becoming patron of Labor Friends of Palestine."
As Liberal federal MP Josh Frydenberg, parliamentary secretary to prime minister Tony Abbott, and the only Jewish MP on that side of the House, commented:
“This grandstanding by Bob Carr is all about him. It’s nothing more than an obsession on Bob Carr’s part.
He is a real opportunist. He’s been silent as we’ve seen ISIL or ISIS go ahead and engage in beheadings in Iraq and Syria and butchery and genocide but he’s just obsessed with the Israel-Palestinian issue and I just think it’s because he’s got relevance deprivation syndrome.”....'The current Australian Jewish News, which hit the newsstands today, is replete with letters and articles about Bob Carr's treacherous attitude towards Israel.
One of the best and most trenchant of the indictments of Carr comes from the paper's publisher, Robert Magid, who is not afraid to suggest that awareness of the Muslim vote in Sydney and Melbourne has prompted Carr's volte-face; his article, headed "Carr's veered off the road of reality", appeared yesterday in The Australian behind a paywall (title, should you wish to google it: Bob Carr is no friend of Israel or Palestinians)
"Israel", writes Mr Magid inter alia,
lives in a rough neighbourhood. Syria recently killed more than 200,000 of its citizens and more than half of its population have fled their country. Lebanon has tens of thousands of missiles pointed at Israel. Gaza recently fired batteries of Fajr-5 missiles not at military targets but Israeli civilians. An army of fanatics is intent on killing anyone who is not Sunni, beheading or mass murdering prisoners, enslaving women and children. Iran is marching inexorably to acquire nuclear weapons, intent on wiping Israel off the map.
Into these shark-infested waters swims our heroic former foreign minister with all the answers. His view? Everything is Israel’s fault. The Palestinians are helpless victims. The expansion of settlements is irreversible and renders peace impossible. With the absorption of the West Bank, Israel will become an apartheid state. Israel is becoming more religious, hence more fanatical and more right wing, and while Israel expands, Palestinians have been thwarted in the peace process for 25 years. The imagery is all there. Mahmoud Abbas sits, pen in hand, a jilted bride.
What is the reality? Start with the peace process. Every Palestinian is suckled on the belief that Palestine includes all of Israel. Look at any map in the Palestinian territories or the Arab world. To Palestinians, “the Occupation” is not of Jenin or Ramallah but Tel Aviv and Haifa. Anyone who betrays that birthright should be killed as a traitor. The only peace agreement Abbas would sign is for Benjamin Netanyahu to hand over all of Israel.
So who is responsible for the lack of progress towards peace?
Israel agreed to the Oslo Accords that brought to the West Bank Yasser Arafat and his PLO, who, rather than seeking peace, unleashed an intifada that killed more than 1000 Israelis.....
Bob Carr sees settlements as the essential obstacle to peace from which Israel will never withdraw, the only possible outcome a Greater Israel with a disenfranchised Palestinian minority.
Yet there were no settlements between 1948 and the war of 1967 and Palestinians refused to negotiate peace, and all Israeli proposals since then have been rejected. Former Peace Now activist Ari Shavit acknowledges that even if all the settlements were dismantled, Palestinians would never sign a peace agreement.
Carr implies Israel is becoming more right wing. But democratic politics is a pendulum. When Israelis feel secure, they vote on domestic issues, usually for leftist parties. When they feel threatened, they vote for the party they believe provides them with security.
Carr shows his ignorance by confusing religious parties in the Knesset with support for extremists — the main religious parties are focused on support for their education and welfare priorities and join in coalitions with whichever party meets their needs.
Carr also fails to mention that the Netanyahu government is committed to a two-state solution....
Carr talks about future apartheid if Israel remains in control of the West Bank but Israel is the only country in the neighbourhood where apartheid is not practised. Israeli Arabs vote, are represented in parliament, sit on the judiciary, are active in academe as students and lecturers, are doctors and staff in all hospitals, and represent Israel in international forums.
Palestinians born in Syria, Lebanon and other Arab states have no right to citizenship and are restricted in their place of residence.
As for the West Bank, Palestinians voted for their own government, which is responsible for all domestic policies....
The West Bank cannot be a stand-alone economy. Many Palestinians see their future not in exacerbating relations with Israel, a technological wonder but in constructive economic and social ties. Palestinians are forming companies linked with Israeli hi-tech companies to provide services.
Hamas has shown considerable technical skill building rockets, missiles and tunnels but these skills should be harnessed to improve its people’s lives. Instead of encouraging constructive dialogue, Carr plays to the victim mentality. Therein lies the difference between those who welcome an integration of Palestinian and Israeli economies to the benefit all rather than the destructive negativity of Carr. Sadly, he is no friend of Israel or of the Palestinians.'Meanwhile, as J-Wire's Henry Benjamin reports here, the ECAJ's president, Robert Goot, has told delegates its AGM:
"The erosion in support for Israel within the Australian Labor Party, especially in New South Wales and Queensland, has lead to a weakening of the cross-party consensus on Israel that has been a feature of Australian politics since at least the mid-1950’s. The ECAJ is working closely with the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies in particular and the Jewish community’s many friends within the ALP, to address this issue especially in the context of the national conference of the ALP to be held in 2015, where we anticipate a move led by Bob Carr to change the policy. His latest remarks reported in “The Australian” yesterday, will undoubtedly attract support and demonstrate yet again the impact on some of our friends of the settlement policy, the attitude of some of the settlers and their political supporters, which whatever their motivation, is seen to undermine support for the 2 state solution and further isolates Israel.” [My emphasis]