Sunday, February 04, 2007


Terry Lane, the accident-prone Sunday Age columnist, America-hater and Israel-basher is back from leave today writing about an apology.

The apology is the one properly given by Canadian PM Stephen Harper to Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen wrongly suspected of terrorism and taken by the Americans to the Palestine Branch Prison in Damascus where he was imprisoned and tortured for 10 months. In his column, Lane whines about our Prime Minister declaring "that ours is the greatest nation on earth" and ends with the question why does the US use the "the torture services of one corner of the 'axis of evil' to do its dirty work?"

A good question and very much standard line and length for Lane although he might have disappointed some of his readership by failing to take a swipe at Israel on this occasion.

He might also have asked another obvious question – why did the Syrians name one of their gaols "the Palestine Branch" – but that's another story.

The thing that was noticeably missing from today's effort however, was an apology from Lane for once again misleading his readers in the last of his pieces before taking his break.

You see, Lane was caught short committing another gaffe when he took newly elected ALP leader Kevin Rudd to task for having the temerity to continue to support the Australia-US alliance. He has had three weeks in which to compose an apology for the error and one wondered whether he might ask his readers for their forgiveness for such lack of professionalism. One can wonder all day about whether pigs can fly too!

Lane's most famous blunder came last year when he was taken in by a fake video recorded by fictitious US soldier Jesse Macbeth who had allegedly claimed to have been an American soldier in Iraq. Lane offered his resignation and followed that up with a rather self-serving and weak-kneed piece by way of explanation or more correctly justification [NO EXCUSES, I WAS TAKEN IN BY A FRAUD].

Of course, that part of the headline referring to "no excuses" was a bit of a sham but, in any event, the Sunday Age (predictably) didn't accept the resignation and Lane lived to push his various agendas another day. The result is that Lane can continue to embarrass his newspaper with further lame-brained efforts.

But Lane's latest gaffe pales when it comes to the ignorance he displays about his favourite whipping boy – Israel. He never misses an opportunity to stick the boots into Israel and l won’t bore you with his complete record.

When the Israelis defended themselves against the murder and kidnapping of its soldiers to the accompaniment of lethal cross border missile attacks from Hizbullah last July, Lane knew who to blame for what happened next.

According to Lane, the Israelis should have behaved as Australia did during the Bali bombing attacks – i.e. they should have copped it on the chin. Never mind that the Bali bombings were terrorist actions committed exclusively on Indonesian soil and the home country immediatley stepped in to detect and prosecute the perpetrators. In Lane's eyes, the two situations were sort of similar and that was enough for him. Even with deadly missiles raining down on its citizens, the Jews weren't allowed to defend themselves.

During the course of his pre-leave article, Lane couldn't help taking a dig at the Americans for "[U]ncritically backing Israel in its colonial expansion and thereby exacerbating the single greatest cause of anti-Western hostility in the Middle East?"


What Israeli colonial expansion?

Does that mean Israel's settlement policy in Gaza and the West Bank where the so-called "expansion" has become a contraction following its 2005 evacuation of all 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza (leaving it 'Judenrein' as required by the Palestinians) and four others in the West Bank?

Has Lane not caught up with the fact that the Israeli people elected their current government less than a year ago on a platform of disengaging from the West Bank either by agreement with the Palestinians and failing that, unilaterally?

That's some "colonial expansion" policy, isn't it?

But really, if Lane wants to read about colonial expansion (and "fascism" and "apartheid" and indeed all of the standard undergraduate catchcries he's become accustomed to over the years) then I would refer him to the Articles of the Hamas Charter and to the constitutions of the other Palestinian armed groups.

Getting back to Lane's claim that the US "unconditionally backed" Israel's so-called "colonial expansion" in the disputed territories, can someone answer this question: did Lane research this matter in the same way that he looked into the accuracy of the Jesse Macbeth story or the claim that "rangers at the world-famous Grand Canyon were banned from answering questions about the age of the park ‘because the truth will upset Bush's fundamentalist supporters'." ?

Possibly not because the truth about the US and Israel's settlement policies is that every adminstration starting with that of LBJ, through to those of Carter (soon to become Lane's favourite author I suspect), Reagan, Clinton and both Bushes have indeed been critical of those policies. [read here]

Lane once admitted to being guilty of the "unforgivable sin … of failing to check the facts".

You can judge for yourself and decide if he's done it again but my bet is that this time there will be no apology.


Anonymous said...

Lane is a hypocrite of the highest order.

He asks a lot of the Israelis but never asks the question why Hamas and Hezbollah are so intent on killing people of all persuasion rather than setting up instititions of peace in this region?

Anonymous said...

Nasrallah is quoted as saying that "Iran assists the organization with money, weapons, and training, motivated by a religious fraternity and ethnic solidarity ... and the help is funneled through Syria, and everybody knows it."

So Israel was attacked by two sovereign states last July and Terry Lane thought it had no right to fight back.

Ironically, Iranians are helping Hamas in Gaza where Israel abandoned its "colonial" enterprise in 2005. And Iranian backed thugs are killing Palestinians in Irak (600 dead last year)

Wilbur Post said...

To be fair Lane had no way of knowing for sure that Iran and Syria were directly involved in Nasrallah's war against the Jews (although the allegation was made by a number of commentators) at the time.

It would be nice however, if he or anyone at the Age would make suitable comment on the persecution of Palestinians living in Irak by the Mahdi Army but 600 dead Palestinians in Irak doesn't make a story or sell Fairfax newspapers.

Anonymous said...


Why waste your talents on lightweights like Lane? His columns are pathetic even when he's not quoting unreliable whacko websites.

Did you read the one where he cited an international marketing survey showing Israel was at the bottom of the list among a certain number of countries surveyed. All that proves is that peoples' perceptions are different from reality.

The proof is in the fact that Great Britain finished on top of the survey.

Why would Terry Lane go out of his way to write about a survey that puts Britain at the top of pops? After all, that country is part of the dreaded coalition of the willing, its weather is shit and British citizens have been involved in terrorist acts in recent years in 18 different parts of the world.

Go figure?

Wilbur Post said...

You're right anonymous. I probably shouldn't waste my time on Lane.

I was going to raise the article you mentioned but Lane's stupidity is so widesweeping that I could fill an encyclopaedia with it. Here are some responses to Lane that were published in the Sunday Age letters (the first one in particular is a ripper):-

Pollsters not the world's great truth seekers

Another nauseating, snide anti-Israel article from the ever-reliable Terry Lane (26/11). So a pollster has found out that people don't like Israel, "even in countries whose governments are vehemently pro-Israel".

And to think that an advertising agency could change people's opinions! But not just through a marketing campaign, it would have to use "forms of deliberate propaganda".

Not truth or honest information of course.

That's why Israel needs the powerful Jewish lobby, right? To disseminate propaganda ... but wait! Maybe this lobby "is more bluff than substance, but it would be a brave politician who would put the idea to the test".

Lane ties himself in knots to show us how Israel is hateful to the world.

Maybe Israel has been too busy defending its existence from hostile enemies for the past 60 years to have had time or money or inclination to mount a good PR program. After all, until after the 1967 war, the world loved plucky little Israel, a David against the Goliath of the surrounding Arab nations. And Israel made the desert bloom.
What changed? Well, the world loves an underdog. And when the 'underdog' of today, namely the Palestinian Arabs, invents a revisionist history, with evil Israel responsible for all their woes, most people will fall for it.
But people believing something does not make that thing true; witness the belief of the Flat Earthers of old. And pollsters are not the Seekers of Truth that Mr Lane seems to think they are.

And who knows, maybe an advertising campaign based on truth, not propaganda, can make a difference. Mr Lane's piece proves nothing apart from his own bias.


Lane's out of touch

If there is such an entity as an "Israel lobby" whose raison d'etre is to intimidate potential critics of Israel (Terry Lane, 26/11), then it is quite monumentally inefficient, because Israel-bashing has become a more popular sport than soccer.

Israel is far from perfect, but its human rights record is infinitely superior to that of its dictatorial, theocratic, medieval, murderous and misogynistic Middle Eastern opponents. So why are genuinely appalling regimes such as those of Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran rarely censured by commentators, and never with any passion or outrage? Why is anti-Semite David Hicks a hero (no, of course he shouldn't be in Guantanamo, but that's a separate issue)? Why do Amnesty International reports devote more space to Israel than to any other countries except China and the US?
Is Israel's unforgivable crime its unwillingness to lie down and let its enemies proceed with their openly professed aim of liquidating the nation and its people?

Lane's assertion that it takes courage to attack the "Israel lobby" came in a week in which Australian author John Dale had his children's novel Army of the Pure dumped because it presumes to recognise the reality of Muslim terrorism.

The overriding principle of Australian cultural discourse vis a vis the Middle East is the precise opposite of that posited by Lane - a putative silence regarding Israel because of fear of the "Israel lobby". Instead, we have a Basil Fawlty-inspired policy of "don't mention the war" - the war of jihadists against the West's liberal democracy and Israel's existence.

BILL JAMES, Bayswater

Anonymous said...

Lane is a senile dribbler who should be in a nursing home. His demented rantings are a compelling case for involuntary euthanasia. The management of the Aged are pathetic, splineless shits.

Nurse Rached said...

Lane is missing again this week. He's either taking a Journalism 101 course or anonymous is right and he's found new lodgings in an old age home.

Nurse Rached said...

And for an encore, Lane writes today -

"In 1996 the German air force established an operation in New Mexico, becoming the first foreign power with a military base in America, and the status of the base was not clear cut. According to the Americans the Germans were leasing a US facility for training. According to the Germans — when speaking at home to a domestic audience — the US base is a little piece of the Fatherland."

In reality, the Germans didn't set anything up in New Mexico. They use part of the base which is the home of the 49th Fighter Wing.

It wouldn't take a great deal of research for Lane to ascertain the facts. My guess based on his record is that he's a bit light on for doing research.