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 28 February 2013

Compare & Contrast ...

I've no idea who "Judith" is, but I do know that of all the commenters on the Australian Jewish leadership's disapproval of Geert Wilders and blanket statement supporting multiculturalism, hers is one of the most pertinent: 

'Geert Wilders came to express his concerns about what has happened in Europe…where the Islamification of countries such as Belgium, France, England, Holland, Sweden and Norway have led to a “state within a state” situation. This is not a myth. It is verifiably true. All one has to do is to travel to any of these places and witness “no-go zones”, where whole areas are too perilous to enter unless one is visibly Islamic, where a woman in Western dress dare not appear, where hate crimes against Jews and other non-Muslims have risen greatly, genital mutilation, honour killings too! Verifiable facts. He warns against tolerance for the intolerant.
Let us ask the right questions…are non-Muslims considered in Islam to be equal to Muslims, to be treated with exactly the same respect and honesty? Are Muslims who wish to convert to another religion, free to do so? Are women equal to men in Islam? Are homosexuals permitted to live? We are a tolerant, Judeo-Christian society where people are free to be themselves as long as they do not impinge on others rights or break the law of the land…which is based on Judeo-Christian ethics. The Koran does not teach Judeo-Christian ethics, it teaches that we should all be Muslims…the whole world is required to be a caliphate and there is no room for multiculturalism in the Koran, no matter what anyone says. The law which takes priority for a Muslim is Sharia law. It must be. Ask a Muslim what a Keffir is, what Jizya is, and finally what taquiya means. Ask a Muslim what the Koran says about Jews.'
Still prominent on the website of the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia, an affiliate of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, is this:
'NCJWA encourages its  members to join the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, the international campaign that begins on 25 November and ends on 10 December, with events to raise awareness of the high levels of violence against women and girls in Australia and globally.
 The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence is an annual campaign that urges national governments and communities and the international community to do more to protect women and children. Beginning on November 25, the International Day Against Violence Against Women, the campaign encompasses significant dates such as International Women Human Rights Defenders Day on November 29, World AIDS Day on December 1, and the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre on December 6, when 14 women engineering students were murdered by a male student. The campaign ends with Human Rights Day on December 10. In many countries the campaign includes White Ribbon Day on 25 November, founded by a small number of Canadian men in 1991 to commemorate the Montreal Massacre. White Ribbon Day aims to engage men in ending violence against women and challenging the attitudes and behaviours that underpin gender violence.
 For NCJWA the 16 days include Founder's Day, beautifully in accord with developing awareness of women's rights for equality, respect and protection from all forms of violence....'
The trouble is, the ECAJ itself recently issued the aforementioned noble yet naive statement extolling multiculturalism, and sometimes multiculturalism conflicts with the rights that the NCJWA (for one) seems eager to promote.

Contrast the exhortations against male-on-female violence on the NCJWA's website with the remarks of Melbourne-based cleric Samir Abu Hamza, who runs the Islamic Information and Services Network of Australasia in Melbourne, who believes it is permissible for men to beat their wives (who, he's declared, will go to Hell if disobedient to their husbands) and for men to force their wives to have sex.

As Melbourne columnist Andrew Bolt recently pointed out in a splendid piece (with videos where appropriate), Samir Abu Hamza is one of the invitees to an Islamic conference in Sydney next month at which other speakers (some, as Bolt explains, are known advocates of Jihad) are expected to include two gentlemen from overseas whose views on Jews are of the blood-curdling kind.

Of Al-Azhar Sheikh Abdur-Rahman Al-Sudais, imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Bolt notes:
 '[He is the highest-ranking cleric in the Sunni Muslim world. He has prayed to God to “terminate” the Jews and is a virulent anti-Semite to judge from his sermons:
[Jews are] the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the violators of pacts and agreements, the murderers of the prophets, and the offspring of apes and pigs…
Read history and you will understand that the Jews of yesterday are the evil fathers of the Jews of today, who are evil offspring, infidels, distorters of [others’] words, calf-worshippers, prophet-murderers, prophecy-deniers... the scum of the human race ‘whom Allah cursed and turned into apes and pigs...’ These are the Jews, an ongoing continuum of deceit, obstinacy, licentiousness, evil, and corruption...'
Of the other proven antisemite he notes:
'Sheikh Yee, another invitee, claims Jews celebrated the September 11 attacks, which weren’t the work of Muslims, and Jews are the real extremists:
 The most extreme nation in this world is the Jews. So if they use ‘extremists,’ it doesn’t apply to Muslims. It applies to the Jews. They are the extremists of the world. That’s why they kill Palestinians every day.... [Jews] go to Hell.'
What do the Jewish community's all-cultures-are-created-equal brigade make of that?

Wednesday 27 February 2013

"The Jews Have A Look Of Settled Melancholy": A Whiff Of Old Persia

Jews in Persia
Here's another dip into the archives:

From the Jewish Chronicle (16 September 1872) following famines in Persia:

'The Jewish Intelligencer, a Conversionist Magazine, contains the following extracts from a letter received by Canon Fremantle from Rev. M. Gordon of Ispahan:

As you are a great friend of the Jews, I think it would interest you to hear a lttle about the Jews in Persia.  There are about 1,500 here in Ispahan, and about 5,000 in Shiraz, where we went lately.  I found that at Shiraz they were supplied with funds by the patriuotic spirit of Sir Moses Montefiore, so that few of them (if any) have died of famine, while thousands of Mussulmans perished.  I visited them in one of their synagogues, and conversed with their Moollahs [sic] in Persia.  They said they had eight synagogues there, one of which was in ruins, and they wanted money to rebuild it.  I asked to see a distribution of the money which Sir Moses Montefiore had sent, and was told to go to the synagogue before breakfast.  I sat by the Moollah, while he gave the money; or a small portion of it; but the people made such a noise, and were allowed to press upon us so closely, that he was obliged to stop and send them away.

I went last night with Mr Bruce to Ispahan to help him to distribute the monthly allowance to the Jews there.  The contrast was remarkable.  We dismounted from our horses at the door of a large courtyard.  The Jews were all ranged in rows, seated in the shade according to their "Mahullas," (i.e., the quarter where they live), families, and names.  Then we went round with two lists, he taking one Mahulla and I another, reading the names and distributing "krauns," i.e., frane, to each according to the figures on the list, which answered to the number in each family.  Each man (or woman) kept his place, and rose and went away as he received his money, and the whole thing was done in less than a quarter of an hour.  In this way we are sure that each Jew gets his share, and that it does not go into the pockets of the Moollahs.

 I could see a marked improvement in their appearance since former distributions during the late severe winter, and though some have died of famine, in nothing like in the same proportion as among the Mussulmans.  Mr Bruce has several times had money from Sir Moses Montefiore for Ispahan through our Mission at Teheran, but he has had such large sums from England and India for the relief of distress that he has been able to help all denominations, Jews, Armenians, and Persians alike.  I imagine he cannot have received less than £1,200 or £1,500 from all sources this winter....
There is no doubt that they (the Jews) are a very downtrodden race in Persia, even compared with other lasses in this land of oppressions.

It is very difficult to collect statistics of any sort here, but while I was at Shiraz I made inquiries respecting them, both in English and Persian quarters.  I was told that a tax of 50 "tomans" (a toman corresponds to the half-napoleon) was levied upon them by "firman" from the Shah.  This is not considerable, but the Governor of Shiraz makes it 1,000 tomans.  I was told also that a tax of 1,600 tomans is levied upon them for making wine, which is one of their trades.  And that an additional 1,000 tomans was exacted in consideration of their receiving relief from England.

The British agent at Shiraz informed me that he had succeeded in stopping this last tax.  Of course the Persian authorities would deny the charge, but bribery and corruption are so prevalent that such a thing might easily be done with or without the governor's cognizance.  Everyone thinks himself at liberty to insult a Jew in Persia.  In Shiraz, no Jew is allowed to ride in the streets.  The women are forbidden to veil, like Persian women, and if any possesses unusual attractions they are appropriated by some Persian for his harem.  This is mentioned in H. Martyn's Journal sixty years ago.  I myself have seen a boy strike a Jewess as she passed in the street, and she dared not complain.  The Jews have a look of settled melancholy, which seems in a measure to identify them in spite of their conformity to Persian dress....'

(A scholarly historical account of the status and socio-economic condition of Iranian Jewry can be found here)

The Rolling Stones Won't Give The BDSers No Satisfaction

Hat tip to reader Jean V. in Israel for sending me this:

In spite of a concerted campaign by 'anti-Zionists', the Rolling Stones have announced they have no intention of cancelling their planned concert in Jerusalem on Israel’s Independence Day, Monday, April 15. Rolling-stones

“We’ve been slammed and smacked and twittered a lot by the anti-Israeli side,” said Mick Jagger, the band’s leader and most recognizable member since 1963. “All I can say is: anything worth doing is worth overdoing. So we decided to add a concert on Tuesday.”

Needless to say, tickets to both concerts, Monday night in Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem and Tuesday night in Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv, have been sold out even as Jagger was speaking.

The photo is a Purim prank, and 15 April isn't Independence Day, but ...
Here's the link in case it's not clear
More (in French) here (h/t Jean)

Tuesday 26 February 2013

When Australia Banned Menahem Begin

The reported recent discovery in a house in England of an original  letter connected with the Irgun's notorious hanging of two young British sergeants in 1947 (one of them, incidentally, was Jewish) revives memories of a horrible episode, which prompted antisemitic incidents in Britain at the time and, like the bombing of the King David Hotel the previous year, was talked of long afterwards.

It would have still been raw in the memory of people both in Britain and the Dominions in the early 1950s, when former Irgun leader Menahem Begin was prevented from entering Australia.  This seems to be a little-known footnote to Australian history, and since in the process of moving house I've come across some copies of archival documents from Canberra relating to it, I thought it would be not without interest to reproduce them here.

On 21 November 1952, the head of the Australian Legation in Tel Aviv,  Osmond Charles William Fuhrman (whom some historians regard as an antisemite), sent a memorandum to the Secretary, Department of External Affairs, Canberra, concerning Begin, whose photograph was attached:
"Subject: Menahem Beigin [sic] – Member of Parliament[,] terrorist and leader of the "Herut" party (I.Z.L.) may wish to visit Australia during the early part of 1953.
1. The Israel press has featured a story, the accuracy of which I do not doubt, that Menahem Beigin , leader of the "Herut" party[,] has been invited to participate in a conference in London of the British branch of the world movement of Revisionists.  The conference is to be held early in 1953 and it is said that at its conclusion, Beigin intends to tour Australia and New Zealand.  I do not know whether this is so, but I suggest that the Security services in Australia might be informed.  Begin is the author of a recently published book – "The Revolt", which is probably one of the most anti-British books which has ever found its way onto the world's bookstalls.
2.  The "Herut" party, of which Menahem Beigin is the leader, is a political offshoot of the outlawed Irgun Leumi terrorist organisation, and, so far as Israel [sic] politics are concerned, it stands on the extreme right and its policy is based purely on nationalism.  It demands a Jewish State which would include the whole of Palestine and Jordan.  The party claims to have neither a pro-Western nor a pro-Eastern orientation; it is indifferent to the United Nations and pledges itself, if ever put in power, to the abrogation of the United Nations partition plan.  "Herut" is regarded by the Centre and Left parties in Israel as being Fascist in character.
3.  I suggest that the appropriate Department in Australia might consider, in advance, what action should be taken if and when Beigin might apply for a visitor[']s visa to enable him to visit Australia."
Upon receipt, Department of External Affairs official Alfred Herbert Body forwarded (9 December 1952) a copy of that memorandum to the Secretary, Department of Immigration, and another to ASIO.

On 10 December 1952, L. W. Pratt, Senior Security Officer at the Australian Embassy in The Hague, sent Fuhrman, in Tel Aviv, a memorandum advising that "a security objection" pertained to twelve men listed, and that accordingly visas to Australia should not be granted.

(Those listed – presumably Displaced Persons who had gone to Israel but did not wish to remain there, and perhaps former Communists, which would have made them undesirable as far as the Australian government was concerned – were, for the historical record: Henryk Szykier, Jakub Poznanski, Polycratis Danielides, Moshe Zalcman, Nikolaus Bilek [?;  first letter smudged], Erich Rostholder, Josef Rostholder, David Teicher, Ignacy Izak Ringler, Witalis Lewenta, Andre Gluck, Hugo Fasler-Falowski.)

A further two individuals, one male, one female, were not deemed security risks, and so visas were permitted to be issued.

At the end of the memorandum Pratt advised that, following checks with the Austrian authorities, a married couple who had contravened Israeli currency law, and a male individual, were not objected to on security grounds.

Begin's case was mentioned tersely in the middle of the memorandum,  Pratt merely stating:
"The information contained in your memorandum no. 33/52 of 27.11.52 is of great interest to this office.  Mr. Beigin should not be granted a visa to Australia. We have advised all our posts to this effect."
On 13 January 1953  Fuhrman sent a cablegram marked "Confidential" to the ministries of External Affairs and Immigration as well as to the Prime Minister's Department:
'Menahem Begin [sic].
I have today, 13th January, received a letter from Begin acknowledging mine to him of 9th December and am forwarding the original to you. 
2.  Meanwhile the gist of Begin's latest letter is "Visit being sponsored and organised by the Zionist Revision of Identity [sic] Organisation of Australia".  Basic topics of the lecture would be the political and economic situation of Israel and the Prague trials implications.  Begin said he would like to visit Australia in July or August next and added that in the course [of] nearly three quarters of a year, events may take place in the West, in the East or the Middle East, which at present cannot be foreseen.  Any such new events if they occurred would be included in his lecture.
3.  Begin is on the special list of New Scotland Yard.  He is a trouble-maker and a terrorist and I would strongly advise against permitting his entry into Australia.
A scribbled memorandum to A. H. Body of External Affairs, dated 20 January and bearing the initials I.[?] M., ran:
"Watson, Imig.[,] says that their file has been passed to Mr Holt [future prime minister Harold Holt, who was at that time Minister For Immigration] with departmental recommendation that visa should not be issued.  This is in line with Mr Casey's recommendation [Richard Gardiner Casey, later Governor-General Lord Casey, at that time Minister For External Affairs]."
On the same day Body dashed off his own memorandum, for J.C.G Kevin, a member of Australia's diplomatic corps, whose involvement in this matter is unclear from the correspondence to hand:
"Begin was reported to be coming to Australia later this year and Mr. Fuhrman advised us of the background in an earlier memorandum.
2.  Later Mr. Casey was asked by a M.H.R. [a member of the federal House of Representatives] if it were the case that a visa was refused Begin.
3.  A cable was sent to Tel Aviv from which it appeared that no visa application was made, but, if it were made, Mr. Fuhrman advised against its being approved.
4.  Mr. Casey agreed that a visa should not be given Begin and asked us to advise immigration.
5.  Immigration are now considering the matter."
Across the bottom of that typed memo was subsequently handwritten:
"Immigration have recommended to their Minister against a visa."
And so Menahem Begin's planned visit to Australia was thwarted.

We might think "fair enough".

But many Australians today must wonder why their government is not similarly strict in keeping out representatives of Hizb-ut-Tahrir!

Monday 25 February 2013

Israel Demonisers Protest Against BBC "Bias" (video)

It's this type of nonsense (with input from useful idiots) that allows the institutionally leftist BBC to claim that in its coverage of Israel/Palestine it gets things "about right".

Perusal of its News website, and the sterling work of BBCWatch in showing the BBC's sins of both commission and omission regarding Israel, gives the lie to such claims.

But so long as the BBC is permitted to adjudicate in-house claims of bias alleged by members of the public, and so long as pro-Palestinian Chris (Lord) Patten, remains chairman of the BBC Trust, the arrogant Corporation's reportage is unlikely to become objective.

Mahmoud Abbas On Relations With Pakistan (video)

His comments are not uninteresting, in view of the large Pakistani diaspora in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

He also speaks more generally.

Sunday 24 February 2013

"Who Was Responsible?" "Zionists!": Demonstration In Sydney Against Geert Wilders (video)

"Muslims are welcome, racists are not!" is among the chants of the crowd, which also raises a cry of vilification against "Zionists":

 Here's Geert Wilders' speaking, "shoulder to shoulder with Israel".

  (Hat tip: reader Shirlee)

A bonus video below:

Friday 22 February 2013

David Singer Reiterates That Palestinian Democracy Is Essential For Peace

Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer's latest article is entitled "Palestine – Backtracking Begins As Democracy Dies".  In it, he takes issue with the views recently expressed in Peter Beinart's Daily Beast by Dr James J. Zogby, founder and president of the Arab American Institute and author of Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us, and Why it Matters (2010).

He writes:

'Arab attempts to undermine and trash the Bush Roadmap and end any hopes of a negotiated peace between Israel and the PLO were flagged with some remarkable comments made by James Zogby in his article published this week headlined “Putting the Blame on “Palestine’s Democratic Deficit”.

James Zogby’s opinions need to be taken seriously – because what he says has clout,  given the powerful position he holds.

Dr. Zogby is founder and president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), a Washington, DC-based organization which serves as the political and policy research arm of the Arab-American community

In his article Dr Zogby makes this amazing claim:

'The rather bizarre notion that the Palestinians must first build a “practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty” before they can have a state was first articulated by George W. Bush in June of 2002. Back then, with Israeli-Palestinian tensions at a high point, the world waited for two months while Bush was framing his approach to restoring peace-making efforts. A speech had been written by State Department Middle East experts, but at the last minute the White House inserted its “democracy first” demand which, instead of restarting the peace process, proved to be the “nail in its coffin.”'
Dr Zogby then discloses who managed to get the “democratic demand” slipped into the President’s speech at the last moment – effectively guaranteeing that the peace process would eventually be scuttled – as has now become so apparent in 2013.
'State Department officials who had worked on the initial drafts of the speech were floored by the Bush insertions, which we later learned had come directly from the President after he had read a treatise on democracy by Anatoly (i.e. Natan) Sharansky. Sharansky, the famed Soviet refusenik, had left the Soviet Union for Israel in 1986.'
A Jewish Zionist – Natan Sharansky – had been able to influence an American president to take a decision that had floored the experts at the State Department.

How accurate are Dr Zogby’s revelations and the inferences he wants readers to draw?

First, Sharansky had not merely “left the Soviet Union for Israel in 1986″

Wikipedia tells his story in more detail:

"Sharansky was denied an exit visa to Israel in 1973. The reason given for denial of the visa was that he had been given access, at some point in his career, to information vital to Soviet national security and could not now be allowed to leave. After that Sharansky became a human rights activist and spokesperson for the Moscow Helsinki Group. Sharansky was one of the founders of the Refusenik movement in Moscow.
In 1977 Sharansky was arrested on charges of spying for the United States and treason and sentenced to 13 years of forced labor in Perm 35, a Siberian labor camp (Gulag)."
How did Sharansky leave the Soviet Union for Israel in 1986? 
"As a result of an international campaign led by his wife, Avital Sharansky (including assistance from East German lawyer Wolfgang Vogel, New York Congressman Benjamin Gilman and Rabbi Ronald Greenwald) Sharansky and three low-level Western spies (Czech citizen Jaroslav Javorský and West German citizens Wolf-Georg Frohn and Dietrich Nistroy) were exchanged for Czech spies Karl Koecher and Hana Koecher held in the USA, Soviet spy Yevgeni Zemlyakov, Polish spy Jerzy Kaczmarek and East German spy Detlef Scharfenorth (the latter three held in West Germany) in 1986 on Glienicke Bridge. Sharansky was released in February 1986 ...."
Sharansky was indeed well qualified to write a treatise on the virtues of democracy as opposed to totalitarian regimes.

But President Bush as head of the world’s leading democracy needed no treatise on democracy to make his democracy demand an essential plank of his peace plan.

Do Dr Zogby’s claims have any relevance apart from telling us the State Department spat the proverbial dummy and had a hissy fit of somewhat monumental proportions because the President did not like what they had drafted?

Consider what President Bush actually said on 24 June 2002:
“I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror. I call upon them to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty. If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts. If the Palestinian people meet these goals, they will be able to reach agreement with Israel and Egypt and Jordan on security and other arrangements for independence.”
The President’s statement was the basis for the actual text of the Roadmap presented nine months later on 30 April 2003 to Palestinian and Israeli mediators by Quartet mediators – the United Nations, European Union, United States and Russia.

The other members of the Quartet were well aware that the text they all approved contained this statement:
“A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours.”
Clearly an international consensus had emerged on what was essential to end the long running Arab-Jewish conflict.

Whilst Israel had expressed 14 reservations in accepting the Roadmap, the PLO accepted it without amendment, as the PLO leader made clear on 30 April 2003:
 “Israel is attempting to alter the road map as we know it by entering into complicated negotiations and imposing its own interpretation.We will not negotiate the road map. The road map must be implemented.”
Dr Zogby seeks to blame Israel’s settlement policies for the lack of democratic reforms in the areas of the West Bank under full Arab administrative control.

It is time to end the blame game whilst perennially claiming victimhood status.

It is time to face up to the reality that only the fundamentals of  a democratic state – free and fair elections, freedom of expression and the media – can lead to a negotiated end to this long running conflict.

The sooner elections are held to end the seven -year drought since the last election was held, the sooner the hope of peace will become a flickering light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

Dr Zogby has done the Arab residents of the West Bank and Gaza a grave disservice by dashing the hope of democracy ever coming to change their lives – as it changed the lives of Sharansky and the million Soviet Jews who eventually made it to Israel.

Jew-haters and Israel bashers must be salivating at Dr Zogby’s “disclosures”.

Such is the manner by which the Arab narrative has been created out of nothing – to [be] a story that soon assumes a momentum of its own.'

Thursday 21 February 2013

"I Don't Recognise Israel, & I Don't Debate With Israelis": Galloway Leaves The Building (video)

Gorgeous George's antenna goes on alert when a Brasenose undergraduate, Eylon Aylan-Levy, speaking at an Oxford University debate on Israel, uses the "we" pronoun regarding the Zionist Entity.

"Are you an Israeli?" interjects George.

The response is in the affirmative.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Watch indignant George make his exit below, and read all about it here (hat tip: reader Ian)

And a no-holds-barred assessment here (hat tip: reader Ian G)

Down Under, They're Just Wild About Wilders (updated with extra video)

Hate speech: sowing discord in the Victorian community
As reported by J-Wire, Jewish bodies in the Australian state of Victoria have signed a statement extolling the benefits of multiculturalism and expressing disquiet about the visit to Australia of Geert Wilders (incidentally, see this video for what veteran Aussie broadcaster and champion of Islam George Negus thinks of him, and this video for the way Wilders once dealt with a certain Mr Cohen).

"Victoria is a multicultural and multifaith society in which racial, religious and linguistic diversity is embraced as a strength. This vibrant diversity has generated social, cultural and economic benefits for all Victorians.... 
Community harmony in Victoria is strengthened by a long-standing, shared commitment across government, community and business – and in a range of settings, including on the sporting field – to respect and embrace difference, to respond appropriately to unjust treatment and vilification, and to recognise and celebrate our common bond as proud Victorians and Australians.
We have a collective responsibility to respect our fellow citizens and preserve the social cohesion and harmony that characterise Victoria and makes our society great. We also encourage genuine and constructive engagement and dialogue as a means to achieving greater understanding and acceptance of diversity.
We welcome challenging ideas and debate, however, inciting hatred and animosity towards specific cultural or faith-based communities has no place in Victoria. All Victorians have a right to practice their faith and observe their cultural traditions and languages."
More discord ...
This "motherhood" statement was endorsed by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

All very civilised.  All very honorable.  And all very well.

Who doesn't want peace and harmony and a quiet existence?

But the statement's basic premise is that all cultures are created equal.  And that tends to stick in the craw, because, although impeccably politically correct, in some respects it's a betrayal, a betrayal of enlightened values.

No matter that some cultures espouse ideologies and permit practices at odds with modernism, democratic principles, and gender equality.

Whether a woman outraged by a credo of inherent female intellectual inferiority (and other insults to the female sex), or a Jew distressed by the allegation that s/he is "the descendents of apes and pigs" or a person of whatever background alarmed by Islamist-driven antisemitism and delegitimisation of Israel, we must all, it seems, be cultural relativists now.

... and cultural enrichment
Comments one opponent of the statements referred to above:
"I’m still at odds trying to work out why the JCCV [Jewish Community Council of Victoria] and the ECAJ have put this statement out.
It doesn’t make sense.

What’s the issue?

What are they afraid of?
 Many countries are coming out and saying multiculturalism doesn’t work and here we have these organisations saying it does.
Multiculturalism asks for people to bring their ‘culture’ and that they never really need to become ‘Australians’.
Multiculturalism implies that people can change this country to suit their values, which becomes unacceptable.
 British Prime Minister David Cameron said during a panel discussion attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel
 “Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream,
“We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong.”
He said the “hands-off tolerance” in Britain and other European nations has encouraged Muslims and other immigrant groups “to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream.”
More still, as this democracy-decrying Sydney conference showed
He further said
 “Multiculturalism, was undertaken for the highest of motives. It was intended to create a more tolerant society, one in which everyone, regardless of colour, creed or culture, felt at home. Its effect has been precisely the opposite
Multiculturalism, entered into for the noblest of reasons, has suffered from the law of unintended consequences. By dissolving national identity it makes it impossible for groups to integrate because there is nothing to integrate into, and by failing to offer people pride in being British, it forces them to find sources of pride elsewhere.”
This has been echoed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy'
 Comments another:
"Everything being presented ... about multiculturalism in Australia – the same multiculturalism that European leaders admit has been a demonstrable abject failure in the countries they lead – points to a profound misunderstanding of what multiculturalism is.
 Everything being presented ... about Geert Wilders’ message demonstrates that they either have never heard what he has to say or have heard but not listened.
Read his lips: It is not about muslims. it is about islam.
You will find apostate muslims and non-mus[l]im migrants from muslim countries among Wilders’ supporters. Listen to them.
The fact that so many venues cancelled his appearance out of fear shows that Australia has succumbed to fear.
Not all 1938 Germans were evil. That was not about Germans...."
 Here (hat tip: reader Shirlee) is an ABC (equivalent to the BBC) segment regarding Wilders in Oz, beginning with remarks from pro-Islam leftist detractors and going on to feature interviews with the man himself and others:

"You should open your eyes and learn from the mistakes we made in Europe," Wilders says in this video.

He warns that, if Australians "fail to be vigilant" against the inroads of radical Islamism, women, gays, and, yes, Jews, will be the first "to pay the price".

But let's give the last word to the man who for decades bestrode the Australian Jewish communal leadership scene like a Colossus a man who warned (here) two or three years ago:
'It is surely high time for Diaspora leaders to stop living in denial and get their act together. Instead of competing with each other in oozing political correctness, they should display some backbone and call a spade a spade.
We are currently witnessing the greatest revival of global anti-Semitism since the Middle Ages. This permeates all classes of society, and, ranging from academics to illiterates and European leaders who retain office despite making unabashed neo-Nazi remarks about Jews to mobs at anti-Israeli demonstrations carrying placards "gas the Jews."
It encompasses the entire political spectrum, but is spearheaded by liberals and Muslims. Muslim radicals relate to Israel in a manner reminiscent of the Church's medieval attitude toward the Jews. They promote popular TV programs depicting the blood of Muslim children being used for baking matzot, and have revived The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a best-seller. They certainly compare favorably with the worst Nazi Jew baiting, with imams quoting genocidal religious texts to the faithful, inciting them to murder Jews, "the descendants of apes and pigs."
It is macabre to observe the alliance between liberals and jihadists who represent the antithesis of everything the Left purports to represent. The extremist Islamists are the most reactionary elements in the world. They reject fundamental human rights, proscribe freedom of expression and religion, promote the degradation of women and, to this day, implement barbaric laws including stoning of adulterers and homosexuals and the amputation of limbs for petty crimes. More than 50 Muslim countries deny Judaism or Christianity equal standing with Islam....
This is taking place at a time when the Muslims have the audacity to promote legislation at the UN and elsewhere which would make any criticism of Islam a criminal offense. The response of the Obama administration has been to reiterate the ludicrous mantra introduced by president George W. Bush describing Islam as "the religion of peace" and blatantly deny the reality that present-day terrorism is essentially a Muslim phenomenon, even though that does not mean all Muslims are terrorists....
 Alas, Jews who exaggerate the presence of Islamophobia become leading proponents of the campaign to sanitize and understate Islamic extremism. This is especially bizarre, given that Jews, especially in Europe, but also increasingly in the US, are facing far greater threats of violence than Muslims. It is also synagogues, rather than mosques, which are continuously being desecrated and vandalized, in many cases by Islamists.
In that context, the relative tranquility which Muslims experience in Western societies is a great tribute to tolerance – a tolerance unlikely to have been extended to Jews in similar circumstances. Imagine the response if Israel had a track record like some of the Arab states, or if Jews in Western countries were blowing up their neighbors...."

"According To International Law, There Are No Palestinian Refugees"

Israel Demonisers At A New York Rally
'Much has been written and said about the Palestinian refugee problem, and much blame has been cast at Israel for not allowing those “refugees” to “return” to their old homes in Israel. However, in the context of Palestinian Arabs,“refugee” is a propaganda term with no basis in law or fact. According to international law, there are no Palestinian refugees.

"Refugee" is defined by the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, adopted in Geneva under the auspices of the United Nations. "A refugee, according to the Convention, is someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion." (Introductory note by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.)

With regard to Palestinian Arabs who, in 1948-1949, left their homes in areas that became the State of Israel, there are two crucial elements in the definition of refugee: (a) "country of origin", with emphasis on the word "country", and (b) "fear of being persecuted".

Let's examine these elements, starting with the reason for the inability of the so-called refugees to return to their former homes....'

So begins a cogent article entitled "Reflections On Refugees, New Jersey, and Broken Cameras" by Joel B that's carried here and is recommended reading.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

"[T]he Thing That Frightens The Jews, Or Zionists, Most Of All Is Being Killed" (video)

Here's  Ja'far Abd Al-Salam, secretary-general of the Islamic Universities Association, explaining on Gaza (Hamas) Al-Aqsa TV last month why martyrdom is "the most lofty form of Jihad".

 ( video)

Demonstration In Melbourne Against Geert Wilders (video)

Organised by Students For Palestine, and with the comrades from Socialist Alliance inevitably participating, here's a demo in the Melbourne suburb of Somerton on 19 February against the appearance of anti-Islamist campaigner Geert Wilders at a public meeting organised by the Q Society.

Demonstrators physically tried to prevent people from going in to hear Wilders: see, for instance, this report.

For the cancellation of the controversial Dutch politician's Perth speech see here. (Hat tip: reader Shirlee)

More here

Tuesday 19 February 2013

"Our Only Fault Is To Be Palestinian": The mistreatment of Palestinians by their fellow Arabs (videos)

"Most of the present Arab countries were given their freedom after the 1914-18 War, or after the 1939-45 War.... Yet to listen to Arab spokesmen one might think that they had been cheated ... because they have not also got Israel. Israel is only .2 per cent of the land where Arab States have been established. Surely no fair-minded man can begrudge the Jews their own promised land when it is remembered that for every 2 acres that went to make up Israel, 1,000 acres became Arab. 
.... Why is there an Arab refugee problem? The oil-rich countries have the money. There is no shortage of land, and the Israelis have the technical knowledge to show how it could be developed and made fertile. Bring those things together and the problem could be solved."
Thus observed the third Earl of Balfour, nephew of Arthur James Balfour, twenty years after the foundation of the Jewish State.

Here's a three-part look at the mistreatment of Palestinians by certain Arab nations, who could certainly have integrated those who fled (just as Israel, despite the onerous financial burden involved, on top of the challenges of integrating refugees from Europe, successfully integrated refugees from Arab lands) but preferred to use them as pawns in their struggle against the Zionist Entity.  (Hat tip: Michael K.)



Lebanon and Syria:

Monday 18 February 2013

Tough Talk From A Cobber, & Busting The "Apartheid State" Obscenity (video)

"With events that have taken place in recent times, one can only come to the conclusion that Israel is a democracy gone insane," lamented an exasperated Australian friend of Israel this past week.

"I don’t know what the answer is. We see the spectacle of an Arab member of the Knesset who participated in the Gaza flotilla a few years ago who, after having been stripped of her Knesset membership for an act of treason, applied to the Supreme Court and had her membership reinstated. We see in Israel, supposedly Zionist organisations siding with Arabs and other motley groups trying to lay claim over parts of the Negev. All in the name of political correctness, we see Israeli children being taught the Palestinian propaganda narrative of the birth of Israel – Al Nakba (the catastrophe). We see an Israeli professor in Beersheba make the claim that Israeli soldiers are racists because there has never been a case of rape against Arab women. Excavations are proceeding relentlessly under the Temple Mount by the Islamic Waqf (whom Israel put in charge after the 1967 war).

This holiest of Jewish sites is an archaeological treasure trove that should be excavated with a toothbrush but is being bulldozed by the Waqf to rid the area of any remnants of a Jewish presence during the first and second temple periods. Who knows what has already been lost forever. There is no doubt that Arabs are constructing a massive Mosque under the Temple Mount in order to lay claim to the area. The Israeli electoral system is a shambles and is in need of a first past the post electoral reform where winner takes all.

We have the disgraceful scenario where Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid has the audacity and sheer disrespect to state that if his conditions for coalition participation are not met “In a year and a half, I’ll replace him (Netanyahu) as Prime minister”. Going by past performance, everyone in the newly formed coalition will babble on about his own agenda and speak on issues that are not in their portfolio. It is time for all to shut up and speak only if authorised.

How many times have we seen cabinet ministers bag and denigrate their Prime Minister on the world stage at every opportunity? They can’t even be united in the face of an existential threat!

Finally we have the spectacle of Sudanese being aided and abetted by Egypt to make their way through the desert and actually allowed to cross the border into Israel where they are given food, water and shelter but where the deportation issue is always challenged by some group or another. The Egyptians are obviously trying various ways of bringing Israel to its knees. Making sure that approximately 100,000 illiterate Sudanese flood into Israel is one way to go about it. For Israel to have fallen for this trap is another example of stupidity passing for policy.

One of the greatest tragedies of all is the pathetic “Hasbara” efforts by Israel.

It has a worldwide platform, but its spokespeople have no idea how to counter the propaganda. When it comes to Hasbara, Israel is like a ship without a rudder adrift on the sea. Hasbara has to come from representatives of the Israeli Government and right now they hardly speak with one voice on anything and when and if they ever do, it is ineffectual. For once I’d love to see an Israeli Govt. spokesman start by saying to the PA in particular and the world at large: “How dare you issue such blatant lies, now here are the facts.” One way or another, Israel better get its act together pretty quickly."

Meanwhile, ahead of "Israel Apartheid Week," here's a man who's challenging blatant lies, and presenting the facts.  More power to Dennis Prager:

Sunday 17 February 2013

"Right Now, Israel Does Not Have A Realistic Or Practical Partner In Peace": Aussie State Politician

Canadian-born New South Wales Labor MLC and state shadow minister for water Walt Secord, who's chair of the NSW ALP International Relations (Foreign Affairs) Committee, deputy chair of Parliamentary Friends of Israel, and deputy co-chair, Parliamentary Friends of Armenia, has just returned from an inter-party study visit to Israel organised by the state Jewish Board of Deputies.

He's reported on this, his second visit to Israel in two years:
"Too often, study tours want you to listen to a long line of speakers on the same subject – but there was no repetition in this tour and there was a genuine attempt to present different perspectives – including speakers from the Left side of Israeli politics. But we also acknowledge the difficulty in getting politicians for the tour as we were at the height of the Israeli general election – but the quality of speakers was outstanding.

I also acknowledge the effort to provide Palestinian and Israeli Arab perspectives, such as meeting the Governor of Bethlehem and the Abu Gosh Israeli Arab education officials....

My previous study tour in 2011-2012 started in Armenia as I wanted to learn more about the first genocide of the 20th anniversary and to visit their national genocide museum in Yerevan....
After Armenia, I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland and then flew directly to Israel and toured Yad Vashem.  I then visited Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan to see a contemporary context of genocide. Halabja was where Saddam Hussein in March 1988 unleashed chemical gas attacks on the Kurds killing 5,000 people.

As a person who has studied the Shoah, I believe that, as Nobel Prize winner and Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi said: “Those who deny Auschwitz would be ready to remake it.”

So while visits such as these are often challenging, they are vital to promoting that which must never be forgotten.

This year – 2012-2013 – on my personal study, I visited the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Armenia, Georgia; Israel and the Palestinian Territories, including Bethlehem and the Aida refugee camp and the ancient ruins of Western Armenia; Turkey, Istanbul, Anzac Cove at Gallipoli and finally, Cairo, Egypt. Let me say that Israel was the centrepiece to my study tour.

But before I speak to that let me briefly discuss why I visited Turkey and Egypt. I visited Turkey for two reasons: Firstly, I wanted to continue my exploration of the Armenian Genocide. I visited ancient Armenian sites in Western Armenia – Kars, Van and Ani.

And secondly, I also wanted to see Turkey within in the context of what the late-Harvard University Professor Samuel Huntington has described as the “Clash of Civilisations”. That is the interaction and conflict between Islam and the West.

I think Turkey is interesting in light of the recent activity of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in regard to Israel and the Flotilla and the struggle in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and the rural areas between political Islam embodied by the debate on the “scarf” against the backdrop of Turkey’s secular tradition.

Incidentally, I was in Istanbul on the sixth anniversary of the assassination of Hrant Dink –the Armenian editor murdered by a Turkish nationalist because of his outspoken views on the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s failure to recognise its past.

I have to admit to complex views on Turkey.  Turkey must face the Armenian Genocide and unreservedly acknowledge it, but we in the West have an interest in supporting democratic, secular Islamic States like Turkey and Indonesia.

I would like to take this opportunity to note and express my support for Australia-Israel Jewish Affairs Council’s efforts to encourage Asian journalists in the region to visit Israel.
As for Egypt, I have to admit that my visit was for what I describe as almost selfish reasons.

It was a depressing visit. I hope I am wrong, but I fear that it will be very difficult to travel there in about a year.  I also fear for its Christian community there and for their future. If events continue to worsen there, I believe that there is a case for Australia to consider giving Coptic Christians in Egypt recognition as refugees.

On my tour to the Jewish and Christian sites in Cairo, I asked how many people usually take the tour and the guide said about 60 people a tour.  There were only two of us on that one tour.

Tourism is the third largest contributor to the national economy there. The current events and unrest are having an important impact on Egypt, which will only worsen the situation. I was there two days before the second anniversary of the events of Tahrir Square.

Some brief thoughts on Egypt. If Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi loses the next election, he must willingly hand over power to a new Government. I believe that the true test of a post-conflict society is the secondelection; the second government or the changing of administrations.I also visited Coptic Christian sites and Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo.  I was excited to visit Ben Ezra Synagogue as it was where the famous Rabbi Moses Maimonides worshipped when he lived in Cairo –which leads us happily back to the subject of Israel.  Many moments will stay with me for life.The light plane flight to the Israel-Lebanon border was one. You see the security concerns and geography in stark terms:  Israel at its narrowest. I think it is about 14 kilometres at one point.

The emotional meeting with former Melbourne resident, Arnold Roth – the father of a victim of terrorism was unsettling, but worthwhile.  It put a face to terror and its impact, but also showed someone rebuilding their lives – after unbelievable tragedy.  There were personal highlights too, such as taking my parliamentary colleague Luke Foley, who is a proud Catholic to his first Shabbat meal....

As a general observation, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies tour added more layers of appreciation to the complexities of the region. The Erez Checkpoint operated by the IDF between Israel and Gaza showed the complexities of balancing security concerns of Israel. One thousand trucks a day go through the facility. They balance the day-to-day operational needs of Gaza residents and business people such as medical support, including transferring people to Israeli hospitals for cancer treatment.

As well as the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies portion, I added on several days to explore Israel myself. Last year, I visited the Gadot Observation Point near the Golan, Masada, Tiberias, Sderot, Gush Etzion, the Dead Sea, Ramallah, Nazareth, Jerusalem, East Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Eilat and Jordan.

This year, I visited the Baha’i Temple in Haifa and travelled to Kibbutz Kadarim and got taken on to the Sea of Galilee by motorboat.

To get a real first-hand experience, I caught an Egged bus from the roadside at Kibbutz Kadarim to Akko and then Tel Aviv.  I sat with IDF soldiers going home for Shabbat. They helped me when I got to Akko.  They were puzzled by why a Sydney man with a Canadian accent would bother to take public transport rather than get a driver. But, as I said, some things should be experienced first-hand. 

It can really shift your view on matters. I guess this raises the question of whether this trip has shifted my view on any matters in relation to Israel.

Well, I still wholeheartedly support a two-State solution for Israelis and the Palestinians. But I am a realist. Right now, Israel does not have a realistic or practical partner in peace.

Fatah in the West Bank is struggling and its leadership are unable to even go to Gaza.

Hamas in Gaza does not recognise Israel’s right to exist.

Egypt is in internal conflict and is sending mixed messages. It still has shaky peace with Israel, but it is a “negative” or cold war type of peace.  Syria is in crisis and is a failed State. This affects Israel and the whole region.

So this calls for realism, and for clear support of Israel’s right to defend herself. 

But I hope for many things. I hope I am proven wrong about my urgency to see Egypt. For example, who would have imagined that Sadat would have ever made peace with Israell?

 And for the record, you do not make peace with your friends; you make peace with your enemies.  I hope that shifts in Palestinian leadership allow a two-State solution to once again be a real, not theoretical, ambition...."

Read Walt Secord's entire speech here

"Helping Millions Of People Globally" (video)

A revolutionary breakthrough in the practice of surgery, brought to humanity from Israel:

Of course, the BDSers won't wish to benefit from it, will they?

Friday 15 February 2013

Anti-Antisemitism, Nick Clegg-style

Described early in his political career by Lord Macaulay as "the rising hope of the stern and unbending Tories," the famous Victorian Liberal Party statesman William Ewart Gladstone (1809-98) served no less than four terms as Britain's prime minister, a dour foil at Westminster for the colourful Tory "Hebrew conjuror," Benjamin Disraeli.

In 1896, Sir Samuel Montagu (later Lord Swaythling), Liberal MP for Whitechapel, sent Gladstone a copy of Theodor Herzl's Der Judenstaat, translated into English by Sylvie d'Avigdor, daughter of a well-known Jewish communal leader.  The pamphlet appeared in April, and Gladstone received it hot off the press.

In a postcard to Sir Samuel, Gladstone gave a verdict of sorts contained in the following extract (his entire reply was reproduced in facsimile form in the Jewish Chronicle, 29 May 1896):
"The subject of your enclosure is most interesting: not easy for one outside to form an opinion on: impertinent, perhaps, to speak it were it formed.  I am surprised, however, to see the misery of the Jews so broadly stated.  Of course, I am strongly anti-anti-Semitism."
Fast forward to 2013.  Conservative MP Robert Halfon, mindful of the shocking antisemitism openly manifested in recent times by certain members of the Lib Dem party, asked party leader Nick Clegg (on whom, so to speak, the mantle of Gladstone has fallen) whether he would "take action" against party members who bring such offence and distress to Jewish people.  Was Clegg's answer as robust as might have been wished?  You decide (hat tip: reader Ian):

Thursday 14 February 2013

"I Am ... Critical Of The Jewish Lobby Within Politics, Media & Finance": Atzmon, Antisemitism, & Aberystwyth

'Gilad "Hitler might have been right after all" Atzmon is coming to Aberystwyth Arts Centre? How perfectly vile.'

So tweeted academic Dr James Vaughan, of the International Politics Department at the University of Aberystwyth (a department founded, incidentally, by the distinguished scholar Sir Alfred Zimmern (1879-1957), the pro-Zionist son of a German Jewish father, and recognised as one of the very best such departments in the United Kingdom).

Dr Vaughan continued that the local newspaper, the Cambrian News, which advertised the gig (it took place on 9 February), seemed to be unaware of Atzmon's views when it wrote of the latter's "emerging political awareness" and that he'd enlighten them.

 In its current issue (14 February, page 7) the Cambrian News reports:
'Aberystwyth University International Politics Professor James Vaughan said many people had concerns over Mr Atzmon's views, including those on the US Palestinian Community Network.
While Prof Vaughan insisted Mr Atzmon is entitled to criticise Israel and Israeli policy, he said there were concerns over his "obsessive fixations on Jewishness".
Prof Vaughan said he did not want to see Mr Atzmon stopped from performing, but wanted there to be a "broader awareness" about Mr Atzmon's views and how he is received by Palestinian activists."'
To the best of my own knowledge, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) in the UK is squeamish about any hint of association with Atzmon and, not wishing to be associated with blatant anti-Jewish statements such as his, avoids recommending or linking to his anti-Israel diatribes.

However, the PSC's most westerly mainland branch, the Aberystwyth PSC, evidently harbours no such inhibitions.

This branch – of which, incidently the Aberystwyth Arts Centre (situated on the university campus) is a Twitter follower, a situation that I for one find eyebrow-raising since I should have thought a body like the Centre should not be seen to be partisan – has recently tweeted links to an article by Atzmon as well as one by ex-BBC man Alan Hart which contains, inter alia, the following pretty little piece of antisemitism:
"The Jews of the world are from MANY established or ancestral homelands, and almost all if not all of those who went to Palestine to give life to Zionism’s colonial enterprise had no biological connection whatsoever to the ancient Hebrews. The notion, still popular with the mainstream Western media, that at the root of the conflict there are two peoples each with a valid claim to the same land does not bear serious and honest examination. It’s more Zionist propaganda nonsense."
Does the PSC command centre approve of its West Wales branch's tweets, I wonder?  I think we should be told.

As for Atzmon, he's quoted by the Cambrian News as describing claims that he's antisemitic as "ludicrous and malicious":
"I am indeed an opponent of Israel, Zionism and also critical of the Jewish lobby within politics, media and finance ...."
Rather an own goal, wouldn't you say?

"A Few Minutes To Twelve": Wilders Warns (video)

Insisting he has nothing against Muslims in general, the controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who's booked for speaking engagements in Australia, explains his views to a Danish interviewer:
Meanwhile (hat tip: reader Shirlee) a political party opposed to large-scale Muslim immigration has been launched in Australia.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Cutting Through The BDS Lies: The Truth About SodaStream (video)

The fiends of the BDS movement and their leftwing NGO abettors have this Israeli company squarely in their sights.  Judge for yourself whether it deserves to be demonised.

(Hat tip: reader Shirlee)

Tuesday 12 February 2013

When Multiplication Is The Name Of The Game ...

A picture paints a thousand words, and the colonial Australian artist Edward Hopley certainly succeeded in conveying the wistfulness and longing of emigrants far from their native land with his sentimental canvas "A Primrose From England," executed during the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s and now in the Bendigo Art Gallery.

But not many years later a prominent colonial era Aussie politician (someone called Henry, I seem to recall: probably Henry Wrixon of Victoria yet possibly Henry Parkes of New South Wales) was writing of the futility people made in undertaking  trips back to the Motherland for nostalgia's sake.  After twenty years in Australia, he mused, those who visited their former abodes with idealistic expectations were bound to be disappointed: time and mores and people had not stood still; recapturing the remembered past was impossible.

As the British novelist L. P. Hartley put it, famously, more recently, "the past is a foreign country; they do things differently there".  He wrote that in 1953.  How unnervingly apt, indeed how almost literally apt, it is 60 years later, with the Muslim population doubling in the past ten years and with immigration-driven demographic change occurring on a scale not seen since that wrought by the Norman Conquest, leading to predictions that, if current trends continue, by 2066 the "white British" will be a minority in their native Isles.

And Hartley's phrase is apt not only to Britain, but elsewhere in Eurabia.  As a Dutch-born commenter observes on this Sydney Morning Herald op-ed by Paul Sheehan deploring certain difficulties Geert Wilders's forthcoming speaking tour of Australia under the auspices of the Q Society in Australia is encountering,
"Having grown up in the Netherlands, I have first hand seen what tolerance has done to that little nation. Not saying that all Muslims are the same, but there is certainly a very big cultural difference between the Muslim thought and the Western societies they live in. Especially the intolerance from them is what is causing a lot of the problems...."
Of course not all Muslims should be tarred with the same brush.  To do so is unconscionable. But, irrespective of whether or not Wilders should be scorned or lauded, it is essential for free societies to be wary. Remember that Sydney demo last year, at which the above photo was taken?  Remember those Hizb-ut-Tahrir videos I've linked to from time to time?  Despite such manifestations of extremism, some Australians are just too phlegmatic.  Take, for example, this comment by one Davo on Sheehan's piece:
"So the Q society want to let Aussies know how Islam can change society. Are you for real? Muslims account for approximately 2% of our population. Fear, paranoia and downright bullshit...."
A suitable riposte came from a commenter called Ironbark:
"There was a stage when the Islamic population represented 2% of the French and Dutch populations....
The problem is that combining continuing immigration with developing world birth rates and 2% very quickly becomes the 10% that now exists in France with Muhammad now being the most popular boys name in Rotterdam.... [I]t is not hysteria to talk about these demographic trends when there is clear evidence in other countries on where this leads.
There are examples of this if one is prepared to look. Take Bradford, England. The majority of new marriages in Bradford are now 'cousin marriages' - i.e. marrying ones first cousin which is common in rural Pakistan. This is a practice common amongst 1 billion people - but not in England. In the space of 30 years, the culture of a city has changed dramatically without the consent of the original inhabitants of the city.
Australians have a right to say who may live in their community and the values that are necessary for everyone to get along. If people believe in totalitarianism and Sharia law, there are plenty of societies that they can live in without inflicting those values on people who believe we are free born men and women living with private property rights, individual liberties and a representative democracy."
And of course the support for Hezbollah seen in Australia at the weekend (hat tip: reader Ian) reinforces the need for concern.

As reported here,
"Hundreds of Syrians and left-wing activists assembled in Sydney, Australia Sunday in a show of support for beleaguered Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad. Waving Syrian flags, as well as flags of Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, the protestors accused the U.S., the U.K., and Israel of seeking to destabilize Syria. A popular sign at the rally showed the flag of the Syrian revolutionary forces modified with Jewish stars of David replacing the five-pointed Arab stars...."
Regarding the incongruous support that Western lefties show to Islamists, Daniel Pipes put it well in a review of an important work by Pascal Bruckner:
'.... As shown by the Madrid bombing and countless other acts of violence, Muslims tend to have the most hostile attitudes toward the West, and Palestinians rank as the most hostile of Muslims. That Palestinians face off against Jews, the extreme victims of Western murderousness, makes them a perversely ideal vehicle for rebutting Western guilt. Making matters worse, even as Europeans disarm themselves, Jews take up the sword and wield it unashamedly.
Europe exonerates itself of crimes against Jews by extolling Palestinians as victims, no matter how viciously they act, and by portraying Israelis as latter-day Nazis, no matter how necessary their self-defense. Thus has the Palestinian question "quietly relegitimated hatred of the Jews." Europeans focus on Israel with such an intensity that one could think the fate of the planet will be determined "in a tiny stretch of land between Tel Aviv, Ramallah, and Gaza." ....'
Read all of Pipes's review here

Monday 11 February 2013

O, What A Feeling, In West Ealing! (video)

While his comrades mind the stall, the bloke with the Russian-type hat protecting his pate against the London chill busily attempts to press BDS literature into the hands of passing shoppers outside the Sainsbury's supermarket in West Ealing at the weekend.

The otherwise silent video, accompanied by Moroccan mood music (a track called "Ma'Bud Allah"), is uploaded to his YouTube channel by a veteran of the anti-Ahava campaign in London who (I believe I'm correct in saying) was one of the anti-Zionist Jewish signatories to the letter to the Independent mentioned in my previous post.

This event in West Ealing was apparently one of a number due to take place as part of the BDS movement's designated "Sainsbury Day" (9 February) campaign.

Sunday 10 February 2013

The Aussie Anti-Israel Arena Acquires A Star Performer

Compare and contrast these two letters, which appeared in the same British newspaper (one not noted for its love for Israel) on the same day:

'The real problem with the Gerald Scarfe cartoon [which, of course, appeared in another British newspaper, the Sunday Times, on 27 January, sparking outrage] is that it perpetuates the "big lie" about the Jewish state.
Not the blood, not the hook-nose: that's what all his cartoons look like. It promotes the idea that Zionism/Israel/Netanyahu/Jews (take your pick) are singularly at fault for the plight of the Palestinians.
Israel is not blameless, but what about Palestinian division and rejectionism? The ethnic cleansing of Jews from the Arab world? The rabid anti-Semitism throughout the Middle East? Last Monday, the day after the cartoon was published, 10 Palestinians were killed just as Scarfe had prophesied... but they were murdered in Syria, a conflict that has claimed more lives in two years than the entire Arab-Israeli conflict.
That is why the cartoon could be described as anti-Semitic even though its author is not.'
A reasoned and entirely reasonable view of the matter, written by a Jewish individual in Hertfordshire.

His letter followed this one, authored by 28 Jewish and apparently Jewish individuals, plus (or are they all members of?) the Brighton-based Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, which reads:
'The suggestion by Zionist supporters that Gerald Scarfe's cartoon in The Sunday Times was anti-Semitic is a classic example of the abuse of the term. It drains the term of all meaning and, like the boy who cried wolf, desensitises people to anti-Semitism when it does rear its head.
Jennifer Lipman's grudging defence ... of Gerald Scarfe described the cartoon's portrayal of Palestinian blood cementing the Separation Wall as "profoundly offensive" because the intention of the Wall was to prevent suicide bombing. We disagree. Palestinian blood is being shed and the security pretext for the wall was a means of further confiscating Palestinian land. That was why the wall didn't follow the 1967 Green Line.
On 23 January, without warning or excuse, Israeli soldiers killed student Lobna Hannash, 21, outside al-Arroub Agricultural College. On 17 January a boy of 16, Saleh al-Amareen, was shot in the head at a refugee camp in Bethlehem. These are but two examples of why the cartoon was extremely pertinent.
Those who constantly raise the bogus cry of "anti-Semitism" whenever Israel is criticised are trading on the memory of the past oppression of Jews in order to justify the current oppression of the Palestinians.
As Jewish opponents of Zionism and racism we wish to declare that we do not believe that there was a trace of anti-Semitism in Gerald Scarfe's cartoon. Holocaust Memorial Day was indeed a fitting time to signal the evils of racism. As the Prophet Micah said: "They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity." (Micah, 3:10).'  [My emphasis]
Several of the signatories to that putrid statement are seemingly ubiquitous anti-Israel activists.  Their names appear on most if not all "as-a-Jew" denunciations of the imperilled little Jewish State.  At least two participated in the despicable disruption of the IPO concert in the Albert Hall in 2011, and, if my memory serves me correctly, have been involved in similar stunts.  The signatories include three out of the four academics who recently implored Cliff Richard to cancel his forthcoming visit to Israel.  Another signatory has addressed Al Quds Day crowds in London as a featured speaker.  Yet another posts anti-Israel messages on a certain social networking site with almost manic frequency and zeal, messages which are sometimes so shockingly intemperate (and attract shockingly intemperate messages of support in return) that the mind boggles at the discovery that the person in question is a Jew.

There's a stand-up comedian on the list, the halachically Jewish son of Communist parents.  His name appears immediately below that of the first signatory, the well-known actress Miriam Margolyes.

Ms Margolyes, the subject of this memorable post by blogger Ray Cook, needs little introduction to readers in either her native Britain or in Australia, where she has maintained a home for some years.  An inveterate critic of Israel, she took part Down Under  in Caryl Churchill's controversial Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza, a play seen by many as antisemitic.  That performance, which also starred the well-known Aussie actor and comedian Max Gillies (husband of a prominent critical-of-Israel Jewish publishing executive whose academic press has published anti-Israel works by Antony Loewenstein and Jacqueline Rose) was held to raise money for Australians for Palestine.

Last month, Ms Margolyes (pictured, receiving her naturalisation certificate from prime minister Julia Gillard), became an Australian citizen, and told the Sydney Morning Herald:
'Her desire to become a citizen crystallised when she wanted the right to vote against the former prime minister John Howard [whom I, Daphne, once had the privilege of meeting and who is, incidentally, outstandingly pro-Israel], whom she described as a ''pillock''.
On her agenda as a new citizen are joining the Australian Labor Party, getting to know more indigenous Australians and improving her knowledge of the ''other Australia'' beyond the middle class.
Quoting John F. Kennedy's famous line, ''Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country'', Margolyes said she wanted to help ''Australia become a nation of thinkers''....
She is also worried about the surge of nationalism and ugliness towards foreigners. While she plans to be a loyal citizen, she does not plan to follow blindly.
''This sheila is not going to shut up,'' she said ....'