Saturday, March 31, 2007


The Australian Broadcasting Commission produces a rather innocuous radio programme on religion known as The Religion Report, normally hosted by one Stephen Crittenden. Well, it was innocuous enough until recently when it moved out of the area of religion and into the political arena by covering the issue of anti Zionism – originally because of the controversy relating to the introduction of the British Independent Jewish Voices and it's little brother counterpart in Australia - the IAJV.

So far, three programmes on the topic have been aired and you can judge for yourself as to the content and the way in which Crittenden deals with his interviewees. My one comment is that I noticed a marked change from a hard hitting interviewing style when Crittenden engaged the pro-zionist Professor Alvin Rosenfeld to his totally fairy floss treatment of Holocaust abuser Leni Brenner.

The transcripts are here, here and here.

I understand that the ABC has received a substantial amount of correspondence about the way these programmes have been presented and the following transcript of a letter sent by Mr Manny Waks, Executive OfficerB'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission, which came across my desk yesterday is reprinted here in full:-

Mr. David Busch
Executive Producer for Religion (RADIO)
ABC Radio National
GPO Box 9994
Brisbane 4001
Email: busch.david@...

Dear Sir,

Re: Complaint regarding "The Religion Report" on Radio National

I am writing to you after receiving a deluge of intensely angry calls from both Jewish and non-Jewish individuals alike concerning the Religion Report of March 21, 2007. It featured gross misrepresentations, innuendo, and odious assertions by the well-known Marxist anti-Zionist, Lennie Brenner.

A reading of the manuscript of the program by any fair-minded person would, without doubt, fully confirm the validity of these listeners' concerns.

For three consecutive weeks of programming, your station has featured the subject of Jews and Israel under the guise of discussing religion but really focussed on the politically-motivated questioning of the legitimacy of Israel, raising questions about the possible abiding prejudice of the presenter and his team, and the ABC itself.

Specifically, why were extreme Left wing criticisms of Israel, which are designed to undermine its legitimacy, permitted under the guise of religion? Why was Brenner asked to answer these questions when has no expertise or authority on the topic of religion? And moreover, knowing full well the interviewee's biased claims, why wasn’t there a credible historian in place to challenge them? Indeed, the programme's promotional rhetoric undoubtedly was designed to achieve maximum negative titillation by linking Zionism with Nazism. To quote:

"Which Israeli Prime Minister in his youth was a member of an organisation that offered to collaborate with the Nazis at the height of WW2 because of their shared racial ideology of blood and soil? This question is answered…etc."

The programme itself carried on in this style without question, and without demur from the presenter suggesting his total acceptance of the views being presented. A further example of this is when Brenner provides so-called statistics that are unascribed to any credible authority as when he claims "the average Jew in America first off, resents Israel because it’s an orthodox Jewish state".

Brenner goes on to assert (again without backing his claims with any credible source) that "(the American Jews) see America's ties to Israel as creating problems from America, and wars for America and so on, and as American they don't feel why America should have to go to Israel's defence".

Your interviewer Crittenden, instead of attempting to clarify these so-called "facts" accepts them blindly and responds: "OK".

Brenner's notions have been used extensively and equally by the ideological Left and ultra-Right in their denunciations of the legitimacy of Israel and her right to exist. Any programmer on top of his game would not only have known this but would have related this fact during the course of the interview. Indeed Mr. Crittenden could have logged onto the ABC's own website at, titled "the Sacred Site" to glean this information about Mr. Brenner. There, Brenner’s book is lauded on the extremist sites that promote hatred. Not to alert the listener to this smacks of professional negligence on behalf of Crittenden.

Had the interviewer done his homework, he may also have pointed out facts about Arab-Nazi collaboration, or explained the facts surrounding the Soviet Union inspired push to have Zionism linked with Nazism, or even perhaps the traditional ideological Left’s objections to Judaism, then Zionism, on the basis both were "forces for reaction".

The B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission's (ADC) disquiet is less with Brenner whose outlook is well-known. Rather, it is with the ABC and its presenter who has allowed such propaganda under the heading of religion to go to air unchallenged.

Yours sincerely

Mr Manny Waks
Executive Officer
B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission

The ABC’s own Code of Conduct requires it to "demonstrate a diversity of principal relevant perspectives when it deals with matters of contention." TRR has now covered the topic of "Anti-Zionism and antisemitism" on three occasions, and anti-Zionist views have twice been highlighted.

Will the ABC now allow a speaker to present a rebuttal of Brenner’s views and will that speaker be afforded the same respect and opportunity to present his case as was given to Brenner? Perhaps the opportunity could be given to someone like Michael Ezra to discuss The Abuse of Holocaust Memory or would that prospect be too embarrasing for the programme's presenter to stomach?

Friday, March 30, 2007


I don't generally have much sympathy for the settlers of Hebron and nor do I think it's a smart thing for a Palestinian to sell his or her house to a settler. However this story from Ha'aretz is simply mind-boggling.


"The Palestinian Authority and Jordan earlier this week arrested two Palestinians suspected of selling a house in Hebron to settlers who have been occupying it since March 19.

"One of the suspects is being held in Jordan, and the other in Jericho. PA laws call for a death sentence for anyone found guilty of selling land to Jews."

So even if an Anthony Loewenstein wanted to buy an allotment in Hebron in order that he could cosy up to some of his Palestinian friends, the vendor of the land would face execution for doing business with a Jew.

I'm waiting with bated breath to read about this in the Melbourne Age which somehow missed the Palestinian sewer disaster story. However, I don't believe that a newspaper with a true social conscience and a disdain for intolerance would ever pass up the opportunity to expose the naked racism inherent in this particular law.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007


This is a human tragedy of epic proportions [Flood of sewage in Gaza Strip village kills at least five people]

It’s about more than the five Palestinian dead, the ten (or even more) Palestinians missing feared dead, the twenty-five Palestinians injured or the hundreds of Palestinians who have lost their homes and are now even more than ever susceptible to disease and hunger.

It's about the entire Palestinian tragedy. It's about a people whose leadership doesn't really represent their true aspirations and one that is sorely lacking in the ability to face reality and to seek peace with its neighbour.

The devastated Gaza Strip village of Umm Nasser is just one of the sites from which barrages of quassam missiles has been launched in recent years across the border and directly at neighbouring Israeli towns. From time to time, the Israelis fired back so it was said that that it wasn't safe to take the necessary steps to reinforce weak walls and sewerage tanks.

We all know that's only half the story; that things would be different if the quassams stopped and the PA, now controlled by a "unity" government actually kept to its well documented commitments to the international community and to its own people - commitments that if honoured would go a long way to help in bringing peace to the region.

"The Israel Defense Forces offered humanitarian assistance to help clean up the spill. There was no word on whether the offer had been accepted."

The time is right for the leaders of the Palestinian people to accept this offer of help; who knows where this might lead them?

It might even get them and the entire region out of the shit!

[Postscript 29 March 2007 - There are three daily newspapers available in Melbourne and two of them picked up the story today. The third is the Melbourne Age and true to form it covered the Saudi "peace" ultimatum and also had a small piece about the removal of settlers from an abandoned West Bank settlement. Apparently, the Age just couldn't bring itself to publish a story about the incompetence (bordering on corruption) of the PA or of Israel's neighbourly offer of assistance in a time of tragedy proving that even blank pages can produce an awful smell.]

Monday, March 26, 2007



The news is not surprising and nor would it surprise if the BBC continues to deny until the cows come home that its reports are, in fact, biased against Israel.

The BBC should come clean because its bias is so obvious that it borders on the comedic.

We all remember Orla Guerin's performance when she reported in banshee-like tones from a shattered Southern Lebanon after last year's war, spitting out her bile against the Israelis and ignoring entirely the role of Hizbullah as the catalyst for the violence.

Contrast that to a gun battle witnessed by the BBC's Nick Thorpe at Gaza City's Al Shifa hospital last December. Thorpe's voice never changed from a bored monotone as he described the carnage when Fatah gunfire at a Hamas position inside the building left one member of the Hamas executive force dead and several others injured. He could easily have been discussing the duchess' tea party as he droned on without even raising an eyebrow about the fact that this was all going on in a hospital.

Imagine how differently the BBC would treat a like incident where Israeli soldiers might be concerned? The IDF in a Palestinian hospital? Oy vey!

I can only give my pity to those who live in Britain and who pay for this disgusting "service".

Sunday, March 25, 2007



Because the Palestinian child in question - a 4 year old - died in the cross fire of a battle battle between supporters of Hamas and Fatah.

With those nasty Zionists nowhere to be seen and therefore no Jews in the area to blame, most of the world's media have decided to give the story a miss.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Everybody knows by now that the new United Nations Human Rights Council is a sham that exists for the major purpose of singling out Israel and Israel alone among all of the world's nations for alleged human rights violations. The Chicago Sun Times has addressed this very issue in an editorial Despite new name, U.N. rights panel still a disgrace.

The editorial points to the hypocrisy of the UNHRC which recently rejected a report on last year's fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon because it listed violations by the latter as well as the former. The Council so fixated on the evils of Israel that it seems impotent to act on any other issue - certainly not the ongoing genocide in Sudan.

The new UN chief Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is embarrassed and says he's concerned about the disproportional attention to Israel's alleged violations but the editorial rightly concludes that "until he says he's worried about the disproportional attention to Israel, period, while the council neglects human rights outrages around the globe, it's only a beginning. This council is a disgrace."

Friday, March 23, 2007


The author is anonymous to my knowledge and it's probably a bit of an oldie but I like of an oldie but I like it ...

The Middle East has been growing date palms for centuries. The average tree is about 18-20 feet tall and yields about 38 pounds of dates a year.

Israeli date trees are now yielding 400 pounds/year and are short enough to be harvested from the ground or a short ladder.

Israel, the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world's population, can lay claim to the following:

The cell phone was developed in Israel by Israelis working in the Israeli branch of Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel.

Most of the Windows NT and XP operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel.

The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel.

Both the Pentium-4 microprocessor and the Centrino processor were entirely designed, developed and produced in Israel.

The Pentium microprocessor in your computer was most likely made in Israel.

Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.

Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel.

The technology for the AOL Instant MessengerICQ was developed in 1996 by four young Israelis.

Israel has the fourth largest air force in the world (after the U.S, Russia and China). In addition to a large variety of other aircraft, Israel's air force has an aerial arsenal of over 250 F-16's. This is the largest fleet of F-16 aircraft outside of the U. S.

Israel's $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined.

Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.

According to industry officials, Israel designed the airline industry's most impenetrable flight security. US officials now look (finally) to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats.

Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.

Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin - 109 per 10,000 people --as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.

In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute terms, Israel has the largest number of startup companies than any other country in the world, except the U.S. (3,500 companies mostly in hi-tech).

With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and startups, Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world -- apart from the Silicon Valley, U. S.

Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the U. S.
Outside the United States and Canada, Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ listed companies.

Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East.

The per capita income in 2000 was over $17,500, exceeding that of the UK.

On a per capita basis, Israel has the largest number of biotech startups.

Twenty-four per cent of Israel's workforce holds university degrees, ranking third in the industrialized world, after the United States and Holland and 12 per cent hold advanced degrees.
Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.

In 1984 and 1991, Israel airlifted a total of 22,000 Ethiopian Jews (Operation Solomon) at Risk in Ethiopia, to safety in Israel.

When Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969, she became the world's second elected female leader in modern times.

When the U. S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya was bombed in 1998, Israeli rescue teams were on the scene within a day -- and saved three victims from the rubble.

Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship -- and the highest rate among women and among people over 55 - in the world.

Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth. Immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity. (Hundreds of thousands from the former Soviet Union)

Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as "conflict free."

Israel has the world's second highest per capita of new books.

Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, made more remarkable because this was achieved in an area considered mainly desert.

Israel has more museums per capita than any other country.

Medicine... Israeli scientists developed the first fully computerized, no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation for breast cancer .

An Israeli company developed a computerized system for ensuring proper administration of medications, thus removing human error from medical treatment. Every year in U. S. hospitals 7,000 patients die from treatment mistakes.

Israel's Givun Imaging developed the first ingestible video camera, so small it fits inside a pill. Used to view the small intestine from the inside, cancer and digestive disorders.

Researchers in Israel developed a new device that directly helps the heart pump blood, an innovation with the potential to save lives among those with heart failure. The new device is synchronized with the camera helps doctors diagnoseheart's mechanical operations through a
sophisticated system of sensors.
Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U. S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in Germany. With over 25% of its work force employed in technical professions. Israel places first in this category as

A new acne treatment developed in Israel, the Clear Light device, produces a high-intensity, ultraviolet-light-free, narrow-band blue light that causes acne bacteria to self-destruct -- all without damaging surrounding skin or tissue.

An Israeli company was the first to develop and install a large-scale solar-powered and fully functional electricity generating plant, in southern California's Mojave desert.

All the above while engaged in regular wars with an implacable enemy that seeks its destruction, and an economy continuously under strain by having to spend more per capita on its own protection than any other country on earth.



And to those who hate like that French Ambassador, I say criticise to your heart's content but if you think it's a shitty little country and has no right to exist then show some integrity, throw away your mobile phones, shut down your computers and stop treating your acne!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Does anybody really care when Palestinians set up weapons factories in the middle of densely populated residential areas, thereby placing innocent civilians in harm's way?

Not really, if you use as a guide, the reaction to this item from a Palestinian news agency - EXPLOSION IN ASH-SHATI REFUGEE CAMP KILLS ONE ISLAMIC JIHAD MEMBER, INJURES FIVE OTHERS.

"One Palestinian activist from the Al-Quds brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, was killed and five others wounded in an explosion in a house in Ash-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City in the Gaza Strip on Monday.

"The explosion took place at noon on Monday and destroyed the house of the Hessi family. Palestinian medical sources said that Ala'a Hessi, 26, was killed in the explosion and five others were injured.

"The Islamic Jihad movement is in mourning for Hessi and confirmed that he was one of its members."

The reaction was of course - deafening silence.

And that silence from those who usually shriek long, hard and loud with concern about the welfare and safety of the residents of these refugee camps when the IDF moves in to prevent attacks on Israeli citizens gives away their real agenda.

You don't have to be Einstein to work it out!

Monday, March 19, 2007


Melinda Jones has produced a very accurate summation in today's Australian on the brouhaha surrounding the IAJV manifesto - DIFFERING OPINIONS ARE NOT EXCLUDED .

"In many ways the content of the petition sits comfortably with the mainstream of the Jewish community that is being challenged. The importance of free speech, the duty to treat all people with dignity and respect and the two-state solution to the Middle East conflict are values."

In other words, the IAJV petition is not, on itself, the issue.

"Mainstream organisations are constantly seeking access to unaffiliated Jews, but they are often hard to find, or don't want to be found. Engaging these people and giving them a voice can only enhance the Jewish community."

So what's the problem with the petition?

"It is wrong, as a matter of fact, that any Jew is actively excluded from the organised community."


"It is also wrong, as a matter of fact, that there is any attempt to silence alternative voices. It is true that we now have only one Jewish weekly paper - the Australian Jewish News - and that this is relatively conservative. However, the voices of many of the signatories (including the most vitriolic) are regularly published in its pages."

Then of course there is the problem surrounding Israel's security issues, Palestinian incitement and the responsibility of the Palestinians - matters which one IAJV person described as "a given". Judging by the written words of some of the signatories, these issues are anything but a given, except that the IAJV doesn't consider them worthy of discussion or debate in the context of its statement of principles.

"It is ironic that the authors of the petition want to simultaneously promote free speech and limit the views with which they don't agree. They cannot have it both ways."

Unfortunately, they are used to having it both ways. Many of them had the same gripe years ago with the Ashrawi affair when they (and the ineptitude of the then leaders of various Jewish community groups) managed to shift the focus of attention away from the real issue which was the question of whether Ashrawi was a worthy recipient of a peace prize.

This time around, the IAJV has failed to stifle the debate within the Jewish community which has rightly and roundly condemned the hypocrisy of some of its more prominent talking heads.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Those who might have held high hopes for things to change for the better under the United Nation's new management following Kofi Annan’s departure from the Secretary-Generalship, had better think twice.

The UN remains its usual hypocritical, corrupt and racist self.

This week a team of UN investigators accused Sudan's government of "orchestrating and participating" in crimes in Darfur that include murder, mass rape and kidnap and they urged the UN Human Rights Council to step in urgently - REPORT CONDEMNS SUDAN OVER DARFUR .

During the four-year Darfur conflict, at least 200,000 people are estimated to have died with millions more displaced. The team's leader called the response so far "pathetic" and I have news for them – it will remain pathetic for a long, long time because Arab governments that abuse human rights and Arab militias that directly target and attack civilians are a protected species in the eyes of the United Nations. Nothing will happen and the Darfur genocide will continue.

The UN will, of course, continue to harangue the Jewish State of Israel – even for non-existent offences.

Remember the controversial Israeli Antiquities Authority excavation near the Temple Mount that raised the hackles of Muslims everywhere and saw violent Arab rioting in Jerusalem last month?

UNESCO has now issued a report that the excavation was "being done with complete transparency, and in no way damages the Temple Mount." UNESCO: DIG NOT HARMING TEMPLE MOUNT.

But that's not the end of it.

Although the dig is not causing any damage, the UN is calling on Israel to suspend the dig to allow for international observation. In other words, where Israel is involved and found to be in the right, you must show even-handedness, don't you?

Not a word however, about illegal digging being carried out directly under the Temple Mount by the Muslim Wafq.

Meanwhile, how do you think that the UN is faring over the implementation of the cease-fire from last year’s war? PERETZ TELLS UN: LEBANON CEASE-FIRE STILL NOT FULLY IMPLEMENTED.


No there’s worse to come from the UN.

The "Special Raporteur" on Palestine to the UN Human Rights Council is an unrepentant Israel bashing anti-Semite named John Dugard. Enabling this person to report on any matter relating to Israel is akin to placing lunatics in charge of an asylum.

South Africa’s Business Daily recently gave credence to this lunatic's latest report which accuses Israel of practicing Apartheid - APARTHEID PARALLEL REAFFIRMED IN PALESTINIAN REPORT.

Unfortunately, the Business Daily's political editor who wrote this article, didn't allow for a right of reply and made no pretence of being even handed on the issue in her story.

So, just for the record, here is a link to Anne Bayefsky's brilliant rebuttal JEWS SEEK RACIAL DOMINATION!

"A newly released United Nations report epitomizes the foul anti-Semitism which has overtaken the U.N. human-rights machinery. In language reminiscent of Nazi Germany, John Dugard, the U.N.’s "Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967," has announced that Jews seeks racial domination."

The great travesty is that as long as this nonsense continues, the real victims of human rights abuses throughout the world, will never receive justice. Not from the United Nations.

Bayefsky concludes:

"Why should Sudan stop genocide? It's waiting for the Jews to repent or the Jewishness of Israel to be terminated. Why should Zimbabwe stop murdering and starving its own people, white and black? Why should China grant anybody freedom of speech? Why should Saudi Arabia let women out of the house alone or into any driver's seat? Why should Egypt stop the mutilation of the genitals of the majority of its married female population? They're all waiting for a solution to the Jewish state problem.

"American tax dollars were used to pay for the Dugard report and its dissemination worldwide by the U.N. Isn't it about time the tap was turned off?"

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Irena Sendler wasn't born Jewish; in fact, she was never Jewish at all.

In spite of this, she showed great courage and humanity in saving nearly 2,500 Jewish children from the Nazis by organising a ring of 20 Poles to smuggle them out of the Warsaw Ghetto in baskets and ambulances.

Irena Sendler is a real human and I salute her and the brave Poles who worked with her to save the children. Their human kindness is greatly appreciated by this son of two of those who survived one of the darkest hours of history.

Read the remarkable story here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Is there a more unprincipled bunch of thugs in this world than those who lead Russia?

Today's Australian carries the story of how the Russians have announced the postponment of the opening of Iran's first nuclear power plant.

The Russian action is not out of concern for the fact that Iran's leadership is likely to use its nuclear power to manufacture nuclear weapons or that its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust and has a stated aim of destroying Israel.

No, it's all about money.

The Russians claim the Iranians have paid only a fraction of the $US25 million ($31.8 million) a month needed to cover construction costs. So, not long after the Iranians cough up the cash (and they inevitably will), the Bushehr nuclear plant will open.

Whilst it will still move at full speed towards nuclear capacity, Iran will ignore the growing economic crisis within the country; inflation is growing, the stock market's falling and unemployment is rising at the same time.

Meanwhile, international diplomacy to prevent the Iranians from building nuclear weapons will continue to move at a snail's pace because, for most of the world - particularly the Russians - it's a case of business as usual.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


I commend this excellent piece of research from Marvin Kalb of Harvard University on The Media as a Weapon in Asymmetrical Conflict.

"If we are to collect lessons from this war, one of them would have to be that a closed society can control the image and the message that it wishes to convey to the rest of the world far more effectively than can an open society, especially one engaged in an existential struggle for survival. An open society becomes the victim of its own openness. During the war, no Hezbollah secrets were disclosed, but in Israel secrets were leaked, rumors spread like wildfire, leaders felt obliged to issue hortatory appeals often based on incomplete knowledge, and journalists were driven by the fire of competition to publish and broadcast unsubstantiated information. A closed society conveys the impression of order and discipline; an open society, buffeted by the crosswinds of reality and rumor, criticism and revelation, conveys the impression of disorder, chaos and uncertainty, but this impression can be misleading."

On a similar subject, Honest Reporting has called on Robert Fisk to retract his blood libel that Israel used uranium-based weapons in southern Lebanon during last summer's war now that even the Lebanese Atomic Energy Commission can't find any evidence to support his outrageous allegation.

It takes an honest man to admit a mistake so should I be holding my breath waiting for Fisk's retraction?

Saturday, March 10, 2007


An Israeli weapons manufacturer has produced a new, smart robot (above) that "can fight its way down dark alleys, through caves and over rubble, seeking out bombs and booby traps along the way and warning human foot soldiers of enemies and danger ahead."

Ironically, the manufacturer’s first order came from an Australian group which plans to use it to combat an opposition group of robots who recently signed on to the Independent Australian Jewish Voices manifesto promoted by prominent Jewish luminaries Antony (I believe that Israel's right to exist must be recognized) Loewenstein, Peter (I'm no longer a nobody because I got a death threat) Slezak, Louise (I wasn’t born a Jew basher) Adler, Sol (I cringe at the swastika but still march under it) Salbe and Avigail (One State) Abarbanel.

The IAJV people complain that they are constantly vilified and intimidated by their opponents and their views are stifled within the Jewish community (even though some of the signatories are among the most prolifically published letter writers in the Australian Jewish News).

Strangely enough, like robots, they remain eerily close to silent when someone with Hamas-like views attacks them. This letter was published in the Age earlier this week:-

Just more of the same

WHILE it's all very nice to read about this new group, Independent Jewish Australian Voices, aiming to open up debate within the Jewish community, in the broader context this is pretty much more of the same. What is really needed is prominent voices in the wider community arguing the real Palestinian cause — which means putting the case against the legitimacy of Israel, rather than just supporting the kind of two-state cop-out that Antony Loewenstein and his comrades still cling to. Then we might have a genuine public debate about Palestine and — who knows? — maybe one day even some genuine justice for the Palestinians.

Jason Foster, Windsor

To my knowledge, the best any IAJV person could do with this sort of vilification was a response from a signatory Steve Brook:-

"No, Mr. Foster (The Age, 7 March) the state of Israel is entirely legitimate, and its existence is not open to question. It is attitudes like yours that have helped create the fortress mentality which governs so much of the posturing over the Israel-Palestine question. The chief sin committed by those who signed the IJAV statement, and I am among them, is that they broke ranks with those who have a my-country-right-or-wrong attitude to Israel. For the latter, IJAV is washing dirty linen in public, and this, while unpreventable, is impermissible."

Get it?

Brook’s reponse to the Foster attack is to weakly re-iterate that the state of Israel is "entirely legitimate and its existence is not open to question" and that's all!

The rest of his response is to parrot the standard IAJV line about breaking ranks with those "those who have a my-country-right-or-wrong attitude to Israel".

Which is not right either.

In fact the IAJV is breaking ranks with the majority of Jews in the Australian community who openly debate a multitude of issues concerning Israel, Palestine and Zionism – often critically. The problem is that the IAJV people simply refuse to recognise this as a fact and then continue to whine on about alleged "freedom of speech" issues. This "my-country-right-or-wrong" business is a total furphy.

And talk about playing the victim!

Mr. Brook and Larry Stillman's views are regularly published in the Australian Jewish News letters column. Stillman is another who wrote to the Age this week to present his gripe on the issue.

The Age didn't publish the Brook response but it did print a letter from one of his co-signatories who certainly broke ranks with many of the others on the two state issue:-

Why this Jew signed

I AM a former citizen of Israel and a signatory of the Independent Australian Jewish Voices petition. I have been an activist for Palestinian rights and an outspoken supporter of a one-state solution. The mainstream Australian Jewish community has been working hard to silence such anti-Zionist views. I signed the petition as an expression of protest against this attitude — not because I am a supporter of a two-state solution.

Avigail Abarbanel, Canberra

As you can see, the IAJV is becoming a rabble. Abarbanel has signed as an anti-Zionist while other signatories insist that they would not have joined this group if they thought IAJV was arguing for a position that was "against the Jewish State" and they believed that "Israel has no right to exist". Certainly, that's the case with Abarbanel and, as for Loewenstein - well, I'll let him do the talking:-

"Jews against Jews

As a Jew who doesn't believe in the concept of a Jewish state - a fundamentally undemocratic and colonialist idea from a bygone era - reception to such ideas within the Jewish community is usually vitriolic, bigoted, racist and downright pathetic.

Australian Jews, generally speaking, are incapable of hearing the true reality of their beloved homeland and its barbaric actions."

I think we're getting the picture now and so are some of the signatories who have begun to realise that they've been callously manipulated. This is what one of them says:-

"Why I have withdrawn my signature from the Slezak petition

When this petition came around I signed it because I thought it was all about affirming even-handed and fair values in the Middle East, but on listening to the ABC PM programme tonight, I have come to the conclusion that is actually a bit of a tanty by a few people who would manage to feel aggrieved and excluded for purely personal reasons in any society.

I must say I haven't heard the 'self-hating Jew' furphy applied to anyone for decades but apparently some nostalgic individuals are still furiously shadow boxing with this bogey.

A moment's thought locates the idea of the 'Self-Hating Jew' in a 20th century modernist psychoanalytic tradition that is in every other respect dead in the water.

So let's not waste any more energy arguing over something that is hurtful, unprovable, and unfalsifiable.

It's a creation of pure panic and we should stop bandying it around and hurting each other.

If you have signed this petition as I did in the false belief that you are doing something for ME Peace.

I suggest you withdraw and join the original 'Jewish Voices for a Just Peace' which has been going for years, does not rely on 'celebrity signatures' and has dedicated people like Lyndall Katz and Donna Sife in it whose record in concrete peace-making between Jews Christians and Moslems is unquestionable.

What a relief to hear Donna's voice on the radio bringing some balm and balance to this painful debate.

You can withdraw your signature at (possibly this will point you to my signature, so if thats the case, apologies - keep looking) I am now ready to sign Michael Danby's petition which seems much more practical, even-handed, and rooted in a the real world, instead of in the pious waffle of the Slezak petition, if only someone will tell me where to sign it."


The link to Judy's letter is here and it also gets you to the Danby petition, which I fully endorse.

I congratulate Judy for coming to the realisation that you don't have to be a robot to hold a truly independent and responsible view on Israel and Palestine and in particular for recognising that the IAJV letter is nothing more than "pious waffle".

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


As it's the time of year for people to sign on for a cause, here's one I endorse:-

Please Sign the Petition for Salahuddin Shoaib Choudhury

Salahuddin Shoaib Choudhury is on trial for his life for advocating dialogue with Israel and fighting Islamist extremism. His trial keeps dragging on amidst ominous signs that the government seriously intends to prosecute him.

A Petition to Government of Bangladesh to Free and Drop All Charges of Sedition Against Muslim Journalist Salah Choudhury

To: Government of Bangladesh,

We, the undersigned scholars and other individuals of good will, petition the Government of Bangladesh to drop all charges against Muslim journalist Salah Choudhury. We understand that he faces charges under the Bangladesh Penal Code of "sedition, treason, blasphemy and espionage," which are punishable by death.

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is editor of the Bangladeshi tabloid The Weekly Blitz.A practicing Muslim, Choudhury wrote about the rise of Islamist extremists in Bangladesh and has written articles against anti-Israeli and Judeophobic attitudes in Muslim-majority countries. He also urged Bangladesh-Israel relations and real interfaith understanding based on religious equality.

PEN USA gave him their Freedom to Write Award in 2005 in recognition of his commitment towards courageous journalism and confronting extreme adversities.[4]

The American Jewish Committee presented its Moral Courage Award to him in May 2006, but the Bangladesh government prevented him from visiting the United States to receive the honor.

Choudhury is facing these charges for taking strong public and professional stands against the radical Islamists who are quietly taking over the world's third largest Muslim-majority country, against the oppression of religious minorities and others there, and for positive relations between Muslims and Jews. His one formal violation of Bangladesh regulations was his attempt to visit Israel in 2003 to attend a conference of the Hebrew Writers' Association. The applicable act allows Bangladeshis to travel to all countries in the world except Israel. The penalty for such violation is a 500 Taka (less than $8). On November 29, he was taken into police custody and, as he tells it, blindfolded, beaten and interrogated for 10 days in an attempt to extract a confession that he was spying for Israel. He spent the next 17 months in solitary confinement, and was denied medical treatment for his glaucoma. Only after an international campaign and the personal intervention of U.S.

Congressman Mark Kirk did the Bangladesh government release Choudhury on bail. At the same time, the Bangladesh government promised to drop all charges against him after admitn July, a mob stormed the premises of Choudhury's tabloid and beat him, fracturing his ankle.

Congressman Mark Kirk did the Bangladesh government release Choudhury on bail. At the same time, the Bangladesh government promised to drop all charges against him after admitting that there was no substance to them.

In July, a mob stormed the premises of Choudhury's tabloid and beat him, fracturing his ankle.

In September, a judge affiliated with a radical faction ordered the case continued, in spite of the government's reluctance to prosecute, proclaiming that "by praising Christians and Jews," Choudhury had "hurt the sentiments of Muslims." The United States, European Union, and other democratic nations have sent observer to his trial. Government witnesses have refused to show in court, the court has violated Bangla Deshi legal procedure, and the prosecution has yet to provide a scintilla of credible evidence to support the capital charge. The new government in Dhaka has promised several American officials and others that they will have the case dropped. Yet, on February 28, 2007, the radical judge brazenly ordered the trial to proceed.

Resolutions in support of Choudhury and demands that the charges be dropped have been passed in the European and Australian Parliaments. A similar resolution passed the House Committee on Foreign Affairs unanimously and is scheduled to come before the full House this month where it is expected to pass without opposition. Noted international Human Rights attorney, whose clients have included Nelson Mandela and Andrei Sakharov, has identified eight violations on Bangladesh's own law in Choudhury's prosecution. The only way to restore the integrity of Bangladesh is to end this persecution now. In the name of justice, freedom of speech, freedom of passage and of human rights, we join with governments, human rights advocates and other scholars worldwide and ask that this injustice be immediately halted and that all charges against Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury be dropped.

We urge each of you who sign this petition and even those of you who don't to circulate it amongst your colleagues and friends to help us reach 10,000 names by April 1, 2007. Thank you from Scholars for Peace in the Middle East

Sincerely, The Undersigned

As an added security measure for signers of this petition to reduce the need to void anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic remarks that have been posted, as well as reducing the number of fraudulent signature postings, the authors might consider necessary to verify the authenticity of signatures. Unfortunately there are significant numbers of individuals who would like to sabotage the credibility and impact of this important precedent-setting petition. If you have any questions, please contact, Dr. Edward S. Beck, ( President, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. Thank you for your understanding, support and patience.

Compare what is happening to Choudhury with the whining and bleating of some signatories to the statements of principle of the British Independent Jewish Voices and its Australian counterpart who go on and on and on about alleged victimization and intimidation from anyone who wants to debate with them or criticise the way they go about things.

This courageous man is really suffering in a Bangla Deshi prison because he advocates between Israelis and the Palestinians while that precious Jewish princess Louise Adler is offended and suffering because someone has made the statement about her that she was "born Jewish".

How very rude of them!

Sunday, March 04, 2007


In the society created by Ray Bradbury in his novel Fahrenheit 451 most books are banned and critical thought is suppressed. The job of the central character is to act as a fireman or book burner; the novel is named for the temperature at which paper catches fire and burns.

According to Wikipedia the novel "reflects several major concerns of the time of its writing: what Bradbury has called 'the thought-destroying force' of censorship in the 1950s, the book-burnings in Nazi Germany starting in 1933, Stalin's suppression of authors and books in the Soviet Union, and the horrible consequences of an explosion of a nuclear weapon. 'I meant all kinds of tyrannies anywhere in the world at any time, right, left, or middle', Bradbury has said."

Today the book burners are in charge of the Eurovision Song Contest and they are readying to follow suit - Israel's Eurovision entry faces ban.

Kjell Ekholm, an organiser of the contest, has indicated that one particular entry, "Push the Button", might be banned because of its 'inappropriate' political message.

And what’s 'inappropriate' about the message of the song sung in English, French and Hebrew by the Israeli group Teapacks?

It seems that the lyrics of this song which refer to "demonic" and "crazy rulers", and which uses the words "he's gonna blow us up to … kingdom come" refer indirectly to Iran's nuclear ambitions and to its maniac leader, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The band members however, have denied that the song is about Iran.

But even if it was about Iran, is there anything inappropriate about a contemporary protest song warning about the dangers of what Bradbury called "the horrible consequences of the explosion of a nuclear weapon"? Is this the only song entered in the competition's fifty-two year history of popular and folk songs that addresses issues critical to the existence modern society?

Was last year's winner, the monster rock group Lordi - ironically from Ekholm's native Finland - and whose lyrics said: "On the day of Rockoning/It's who dares, wins/You will see the jokers soon'll be the new kings" any more appropriate?

One wonders if the fireman, would be reacting differently if the entry came from Bosnia and Herzegovina or perhaps from Lithuania which provided last year's sixth placegetter, a song called "We Are the Winners" and described in one place as "the seminal protest song"?

Thursday, March 01, 2007


April Fool's Day is still a month away but that hasn't stopped Hamas terrorist leader in exile Khalid Mish'al from pulling the wool over the eyes of Sergey Lavrov, Russia's Foreign Minister on his visit to Moscow to garner support for an end to sanctions against the Palestinian Government so that his thugs can continue on with their job of murdering Israels while remaining well fed and well paid thanks to international handouts.

Mish'al made to the FM that Hamas would "end missile attacks and violence against

Well, maybe!

After all, another lie from a Palestinian political figure means babkes these days when they have friends across the world rewriting history, inventing imaginary massacres, falsify the peaceful intentions of the Israeli people and generally finding excuses as to why they shouldn't observe the international community's reasonable requirements to move the stalled peace process forward.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, another five quassam rockets were fired at Israeli towns today.