Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

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)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Numb Bums & Numbskulls: The spinning wheels go round & round

Pedalling that mendacious map set
The Big Ride for Palestine (Edinburgh to London) ended on Sunday.

A fundraising event on behalf of the Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA), it was, as the images on its website suggest, also a well-calculated propaganda campaign against the Jewish State.

Look, for instance, at this map set, the inaccuracy of which has been exposed (to no avail) time and time again, and at this pictorial plea for the "Right of Return".

Indeed, the "Right of Return" appears to be an integral plank in the policy of the Middle East Children's Alliance itself.

Declared Dr. Mona El-Farra, Vice President of the Red Crescent Society for the Gaza Strip
Gaza Director of MECA in an online message to participants:
“With every mile you ride, you are protesting against 67 years of Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
You are sending a message to the Palestinian people in general and to the people of the Gaza strip in particular that they are not abandoned. You are bringing hope to millions of Palestine children for whom life has been scarred by trauma and fear. You are siding with millions of displaced 1948 Palestinian refugees who still have the keys to their homes from which they were uprooted by force. You are breaking barriers that separate human beings who should be equal regardless of race, colour or religion. 
We dream of a day when we can welcome you to cycle in free Palestine to enjoy the beauty of our country that has been devastated by long decades of Israeli occupation, dispossession, and annihilation. We appreciate your solidarity; we salute you all for your humanity.”
 NGO Monitor provides the following facts about MECA (links at site):
'Founded in 1988, based in Berkeley, California
Goal: “We educate North Americans about children in the region and the brutal impact of US foreign policy on their lives.”
“MECA relies on the support of individuals dedicated to peace and justice in the Middle East.” Further details were not found.
According to the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) website, “[t]he Middle East Children’s Alliance is the fiscal sponsor for ISM-USA.” Donations for ISM’s campaign to “interfere with the construction of the annexation barrier” can be made to “MECA (ISM-USA Fund).”
MECA organizes delegations to “Palestine/Israel” where participants can “witness the impact of the Israeli occupation and…learn about refugees, land confiscation, political prisoners…” Trip highlights include learning “about the origins of the Palestinian refugees and the Right of Return, and how it can be implemented” (emphasis added).
MECA founder and Executive Director Barbara Lubin wrote “I think that the Jewish State is racist to the core.”  Lupin refers to the 1948 “ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population” and wrote that “[t]he concept of ‘Jewish morality’ is truly dead. We can be fascists, terrorists, and Nazis just like everybody else.”  [Emphasis added]
In an interview, MECA Director of Gaza Projects, Dr. Mona El-Farra, explained that MECA refused USAID funding because it came with the condition that they promise “not [to] give any help or any aid whatsoever for the families of the militiamen, or their relatives, or anyone related to ‘terrorist attacks’” because “we consider it resistance” (emphasis added).
MECA raised funds for British MP George Galloway’s “Viva Palestine” convoy “following the massacre in Gaza.”
Partners include pro-Palestinian groups such as Addameer, Badil, the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, Bat Shalom, and Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP). Also partners with the Lajee Center, which refers to the “Israeli regime of Apartheid, colonization, and belligerent occupation.'"   [Emphasis added]
The Big Ride was endorsed by a great many of the usual suspects ranging from a prominent "As-a-Jew" through show biz B-listers to London mayoral hopeful George Galloway ("The idea of 1,000 cyclists barrelling down from Edinburgh to London, parliament to parliament, carrying the message that we must come to the aid of the beleaguered men, woman and children in what is an open air prison is immensely powerful") and film director Ken Loach ("More and more people are becoming aware that justice for the Palestinians is the great cause of our time") and a number of MPs, including front-running Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn, whose message of encouragement read:
“The Palestinians have suffered and continue to do so, from Israeli bombardment in Gaza, and the Occupation of the West Bank.  This ride is in solidarity of cyclists in Britain to raise money for aid to Palestine, but also to politically draw attention to the desperate need for the British government to act and respect the parliamentary decision to recognise Palestine, which clearly has not yet been incorporated into government policy. This ride has my total support and I trust that much more support will pour in from our community and notably from those who are so well aware of the injustices metered out to the Palestinians.”
 The wheels of the Big Ride cyclists are not, of course, the only examples of spin we've seen in recent days.

Here are more examples:

And of course there's this forthcoming conference, at which, sad to relate, two Australians will be prominent, one of whom, Arentinian/Israeli Marcel Svirsky, will be familiar to regular readers of my blog as the bloke who walked from Sydney to Canberra to present a pro-BDS petition to Federal Parliament (see here and here).  (Judging from his Facebook page, Dr Svirsky is a far leftist.)
Conference on Settler Colonialism in Palestine & Workshop on the Naqab Bedouin
Call for papers
An Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies conference
Date    2 - 4 October 2015
Time    Event spans several days
Place    Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies

The study of settler colonialism as an historical, geographical and political formation is attracting the attention of more and more scholars around the globe. Our effort will be oriented towards the examination of the settler colonial paradigm’s validity in the context of Palestine. The organisers encourage interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to the study of settler colonialism in Palestine, so as to build bridges between settler colonial studies and other disciplines, as well as to challenge Israel’s alleged exceptionality.
Confirmed Speakers:
    Prof. Nur Masalha, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London, UK.
    Prof. Ilan Pappe, University of Exeter, UK.
    Dr. Marcelo Svirsky, University of Wollogong, Australia.
    Prof. Lorenzo Veracini, Swinburne University
 The organisers encourage interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to the study of settler colonialism in Palestine, so as to build bridges between settler colonial studies and other disciplines, as well as to challenge Israel’s alleged exceptionality.
We encourage prospective contributors to engage with the following questions:
What is the nature of Israel’s colonisation of Palestine? How does it manifest itself in different political, economic, social, as well as material and ideational arenas?
    How do settler colonial structures affect different forms of resistance?
    How are settler colonial narratives articulated (and disarticulated)?
    How has Israel’s settler colonial project impacted upon Palestine’s social, demographic, political and economic landscapes?
    How does settler colonialism intersect with global processes such as neo-liberalism, imperialism and war?
    How does Israeli settler-colonialism relate to the Israeli nation-state building project?
    How does resistance against the settler colonial regime by the indigenous Palestinian population relate to and articulate itself within/vis-à-vis the Palestinian national struggle?
 See more here and a letter of concern from the Board of Deputies here


  1. I could only find one reference to numbers - "over 100"
    "Over 100 cyclists from as far a field as Edinburgh will arrive in Luton on Saturday the 8th August 2015."
    More like under 50 judging by the pictures from London.

    BTW Corbyn is BFFs with Carlos Latuff
    Corbyn and the Hamas backer who defends suicide bombs: He'll share stage with extremist... and a 'Holocaust cartoon contest' runner-up

    1. Ha! I looked at the Photos on Facebook - inconclusive. Thanks for the Corbyn reference. Hope to do my next Elder article on that topic.

  2. Very ordinary article in this morning's Australian by Jamie Walker, the Oz's latest Middle East correspondent

    One might have hoped that things would have improved since John Lyons moved into something more in his line of expertise (such as gardening or whatever)

    Seems not

    1. Thanks, Geoff. btw, I assume you've seen the speculation that Mark Regev will be Israel's new ambassador to the UK.

    2. I hadn't seen that, Daphne