Monday, April 30, 2007


"In the shadow of this week’s visit to Geneva by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, a controversy has arisen about an expo of ancient artifacts from Gaza. Abbas officially opened the 'Gaza at the crossroads of civilizations' exhibition at the art and history museum on Thursday. More than 500 artifacts from archeological digs in the Palestinian territory are on display, including Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Muslim works of art." [Controversy simmers over Gaza expo]

What's the controversy?

The exposition does not include any Jewish objects despite there being a wealth of objects available. According to a report in the Tribune de Genève "none of the artefacts are Jewish, because those found in Gaza were ordered shipped to Israel."

Go figure?

Saturday, April 28, 2007


It has become commonplace for Israel's opponents to raise the spectre of the so-called Jewish/Israel Lobby, a not so shadowy group of activists who advocate for Israel in the ongoing conflict with its neighbours. Last year, two American academics John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt produced a working paper claiming that "the United States has been willing to set aside its own security in to advance the interests of another state" and that American Middle East policy is driven primarily by the "Israel Lobby", a "loose coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to steer US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction," and whose core is "American Jews who make a significant effort in their daily lives to bend U.S. foreign policy so that it advances Israel's interests." The claim that such a lobby exists and has wide ranging power has been parroted by anti-Israel activists in other parts of the world including in Australia.

A close examination of Mearsheimer and Walt's work disclosed numerous factual errors [click here and here for examples] and sloppy scholarship in general. Alan Dershowitz even challenged them to a debate on their paper - a challenge that was politely declined.

The noted Israeli historian Benny Morris, who was cited by Mearsheimer and Walt, completed the demolition of their study in an article published in the New Republic THE IGNORANCE AT THE HEART OF AN INNUENDO. And Now For Some Facts. Of course, the Jewish/Israel Lobby card continues to be played out vigorously to this very day and it's worth asking why is this so?

here is a myriad of interest groups with a multitude of agendas and varying shapes and sizes operating to influence government in the U.S and elsewhere. If there is any substance to the allegation that certain citizens subordinate the security of their own state to that of a foreign power, then the singling out of one group is problematic. Eitan Bornstein asked the question in the Michigan Israel Observer article referred to above, that "if 'The Israel Lobby' itself is overly influential, shouldn't the authors also be criticizing the lobbying industry as a whole?" If not, what does it say about the motives of people like Mearsheimer and Walt and their counterparts around the world?

The most influential player of the Jewish/Israel Lobby card in recent times is former United States President and a one time Yasser Arafat lobbyist, Jimmy Carter who has produced an appalling book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Again, it was left to Dershowitz to expose Carter as being heavily in the pay of the Saudi Arabians in Ex-President for Sale. These revelations are nothing new; Carter has been lobbying for the Arab and Palestinian causes for a long time. Strangely enough, he only considers it wrong for people to advocate for Israel and has no problem advocating for the Palestinians even though they are governed by a party which the U.S has labelled a "terrorist organisation", which has a genocidal aims against Jews and seeks to bring down the American people. Like those other anti-Jewish/Israel lobbyists, Carter declined the opportunity for an open and fair public debate with Dershowitz. Why is it that so many of those who complain loudly about the stifling of debate, run scared when faced with the challenge to do exactly that?

In Carter's case, is it perhaps that he knows his book is based largely on a lie? After all, he freely admits in the book itself that Israel doesn't really practice apartheid although that fact didn't prevent him from using such its outrageously inappropriate title.

Carter turned up at the University of Iowa last week, well and truly on the campaign trail. "The main reason I came to Iowa is to make sure you knew you could shape an outcome in the 2008 presidential election … As long as American politicians are seen as 'knee-jerk supporters' of Israel, the country’s role as the principal Mideast peace broker will be endangered."

There's proof of the fact that not only are the millions of dollars being poured into Carter's foundation by the Saudis proving the worth of their weight in oil but that Carter himself is one of the most shameful hypocrites walking on the face of this earth today.

The Simon Weisenthal Centre has recently published a response setting out how Carter attacked his subject in a reckless manner without any apparent regard for the truth. Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, Major Fabrications and Distortions reveals the depth to which the former U.S President has fallen under the spell of the Arab Lobby and how his work reflects the naked bigotry of his attempt not only to undermine the Jewish State but also to influence the politics of his own country.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Just as Melanie Phillips was writing to point out that French Jews are at the crossroads and citing a most powerful and disturbing piece by Professor Shmuel Trigano on the parlous state of French Jewry, another severe anti-Semitic attack took place in the French city of Marseille.

The head of the Jewish Agency delegation in France, David Roche, described the assault on the 22-year-old Jewish woman by two men of Middle Eastern appearance as "the most severe anti-Semitic attack in France since the murder of the young Jewish male Ilan Halimi by a gang of Muslim youths in February 2006."

Such attacks are occurring all too frequently throughout Europe and if we accept Professor Trigano's thesis, the days of many of the remnants of the continent's Jewish communties are numbered. And the Jews are not the only ones in trouble.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Frida Ghitis reports in World Politics Watch on Marvin Kalb's analysis published by Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government of how the media transformed from being an "objective observer to fiery advocate" for Hizbullah [click here]. "Kalb painstakingly details how Hezbollah exercised absolute control over how journalists portrayed its side of the conflict, while Israel became 'victimized by its own openness'."

Readers of THE BLANK PAGES OF THE AGE will already be familiar about the ways in which some of our local media and journalist perform this valuable task for the terror groups arrayed against Israel and its population.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


The following is the text of an open letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour on the Palestine Authority's ongoing "direct and public incitement to commit genocide" (1948 Genocide Convention: Article IIIc) issued by the WORLD UNION FOR PROGRESSIVE JUDAISM ASSOCIATION FOR WORLD EDUCATION [Palais des Nations, Geneva] on Monday, 23 April 2007.

On 13 April 2007, at a mosque in Sudan, the Acting Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Sheikh Ahmad Bahr of Hamas brought greetings: "Our jihad-fighting Palestinian people salutes its brother, Sudan."

He ended his sermon to a packed mosque audience with a "direct and public incitement to commit genocide":

h Allah, vanquish the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, vanquish the Americans and their supporters. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them all, down to the very last one [sic]. Oh Allah, show them a day of darkness. Oh Allah, who sent down His Book [The Koran], the mover of the clouds who defeated the enemies of the Prophet - defeat the Jews and the Americans, and bring us victory over them."

On 16 April we sent an Appeal to the HCHR for a reaction to Hamas Spokesman Dr. Ismail Radwan's "direct and public incitement to commit genocide." He ended his sermon to a attentive mosque audience, broadcast on Palestinian Authority TV (30 March), with genocidal "prayers to Allah" (from a hadith):

The Hour [Day of Judgment] will not come until the Muslims will fight the Jews and the Muslims will kill them, and the rock and the tree will say: 'Oh, Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, kill him!' "

He concluded with a call for "victory for the Jihad-fighting worshippers, in Palestine and elsewhere." PMWatch - [
click here].

e following are excerpts from the sermon delivered on 13 April 2007 by Ahmad Bahr of Hamas - Acting Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council that was aired on TV in Sudan; the translation is by MEMRI.

TO VIEW THIS CLIP: [click here].

click here].

Ahmad Bahr:

[...] "The Palestinian woman bids her son farewell, and says to him: 'Son, go and don't be a coward. Go, and fight the Jews.' He bids her farewell and carries out a martyrdom operation. What did this Palestinian woman say when she was asked for her opinion, after the martyrdom of her son? She said: 'My son is my own flesh and blood. I love my son, but my love for Allah and His Messenger is greater than my love for my son.' Yes, this is the message of the Palestinian woman, who was over 70 years old - Fatima Al-Najjar. She was over 70 years old, but she blew herself up for the sake of Allah, bringing down many criminal Zionists." [...]

"America will be annihilated, while Islam will remain. The Muslims 'will be victorious, if you are believers.' Oh Muslims, I guarantee you that the power of Allah is greater than America, by whom many are blinded today. Some people are blinded by the power of America. We say to them that with the might of Allah, with the might of His Messenger, and with the power of Allah, we are stronger than America and Israel." [...]

"'You will be victorious on the face of this planet. You are the masters of the world on the face of this planet.' Yes, [the Koran says] 'you will be victorious,' but only 'if you are believers.' Allah willing, 'you will be victorious,' while America and Israel will be annihilated, Allah willing. I guarantee you that the power of belief and faith is greater than the power of America and Israel. They [the Jews] are cowards, as is said in the Book of Allah: 'You shall find them the people most eager to protect their lives.' [Koran 2:96] They are cowards, who are eager for life, while we are eager for death for the sake of Allah..."

We call on you Sir the UN Secretary-General, and to you Madam the High Commissioner of Human Rights, to remind the Palestinian Authority Government of the Principles of the UN Charter (Chapter I, Article 2:4); and that the 1948 Genocide Convention states: "direct and public incitement to commit genocide" (Article III c) by "public officials or private individuals"..."shall be punished" (Art. IV)

David G. Littman and René V.L. Wadlow (Representatives to the UN Office in Geneva)

NGO doc. [
click here].

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sunday, April 22, 2007


The Guardian's Roy Greenslade comments on the Virginia Tech massacre in A HIERARCHY OF DEATH.

"Thirty-two die in American university shooting. Result? Huge media coverage in the US and Britain. In Iraq, almost 200 die, arguably the worst day of carnage in that beleaguered country since the coalition invasion. Result? Coverage so restrained as to be, in many cases, totally negligible."

Greenslade tells us why this is so but first puts forward his theory that the media operate according to a hierarchy of death. The closer to home the victims, the more interest there is in a story. Further, deaths in ongoing conflicts receive less coverage than unexpected deaths elsewhere because they are unpredictable in nature and rate more highly in their newsworthiness.

But wait, there's more to this theory.

"The deaths of non-of non-white people in foreign parts - and, I would contend, often at home - are never accorded equal status by the white, western media. The deaths of Arabs and Muslims (and, in many media eyes, there is no difference) are overlooked because they are, variously, anti-western, anti-Christian or anti-capitalist, or all three, and are therefore undeserving of sympathy. By virtue of their religion and their ethnicity they cannot expect the same treatment as the people in the west (who, of course, are also more civilised, better educated and altogether more wholesome). In other words, it's racist."

An interesting theory, and I wonder if it can be adapted to explain some of the contradictions in the media's treatment of the victims of Arab violence? Was racism inherent in the boycott imposed by the British National Union of Journalists against Israel? Was that why the union ignored the threats and violence of Hamas and Hizbullah and condemned only the Israelis in its recent resolutions? Does it also explain why Israel alone was censured and not other nations like Sudan which sponsors murderous Arab militias? I guess that's why we read so little about the abduction of Alan Johnston and even less about the lawlessness in Gaza and the West Bank which has seen Palestinian killing Palestinian on an ongoing basis but with almost zero publicity?

[ADDENDUM: Ed O'Loughlin's reporting on events in the Middle East always seems to set the example. In this morning's Melbourne Age, O'Loughlin covers the weekend's violence which saw the deaths of eight Palestinians, mostly "armed militants" (including a so-called "policeman" killed in a raid on a village near Jenin), in various operations in the West Bank and Gaza. He concludes with a now obligatory (for O'Loughlin) reference to alleged Israeli brutality by reminding readers that this was the "highest one day death toll since January, when four Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops who opened fire in a food market in the centre of the West Bank town of Ramallah." No mention however of the hundreds of Palestinians, many of them civilians, killed by fellow civilians in violence between their own "militant" groups or the deaths of Israelis at the hands of such "militants" during that time.]

Friday, April 20, 2007


In the course of Cho Seung-Hui's killing spree at Virginia Tech this week, Professor Liviu Librescu held the door of his classroom shut delaying the disturbed gunman's attempts to gain entry. The Professor was shot through the door but prevented the killer from entering the classroom until all of his students had escaped through the windows.

It was in this way that the 77 year old survivor of the Holocaust died on 16 April, 2007 - Holocaust Memorial Day.

The Israeli Professor, a husband, father, grandfather and teacher died protecting the lives of others and thereby his last deed in life was an act of healing the world - tikkun olam. That he did so on this of all days is one of the great ironies of life and death; his selflessness and heroism epitomises all that is good about the universal values of Jewish existence.

Liviu Librescu was buried this morning in Ra'anana, Israel. At the funeral, his son Arie said that "the courses in aerodynamics have ended. On the 16th of the month, you started a new career, teaching a new subject - heroism - [which] millions of students are learning."

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Many observers of the conflict between Israel and Palestine see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who heads Fatah as the "good guy" on the Palestinian side and Hamas and Islamic Jihad as the "bad guys". Of course, it's not as simple as that because Abbas is a weak and ineffectual leader and it's this weakness that raises the very real question of with whom does Israel deal if it is to make peace with its Palestinian neighbours.

An example of the President's impotence was a report yesterday from Reuters whereby an aide claimed Abbas had reached an agreement with all "militant groups" operating in the Gaza Strip that they would stop rocket attacks into Israel - DEAL STRUCK TO HALT ATTACKS ON ISRAEL: ABBAS AIDE. The cessation of these rocket attacks is vital to progress the cause of peace which is dependent largely upon the Palestinians honouring commitments made to the international community to end violence against the citizens of Israel.

Apart from being weak, Abbas has a serious credibility problem with his constituency of "militants" because as soon as the announcement was made one group of serial rocketeers from Islamic Jihad, which advocates the Jewish state's destruction, denied that it had agreed to stop firing rockets. Spokesperson Abu Ahmed said that "there is no decision to stop firing. It increases and decreases according to security conditions on ground." He added in his statement that "the Zionist media claims are untrue".

While it's comforting to know that Reuters is now officially part of the "Zionist media" (and this presumably includes any of the schizophrenic British journalists who also happen to work for Reuters but are currently involved in a boycott of the Jewish State), the confusion establishes a couple of things:-

(a) You can't trust statements made by Mahmoud Abbas or his representatives about any negotiations for a cease fire, and

(b) Palestinians continue to fire rockets at Israeli civilians, a fact about which many commentators - not just the British journalists who voted for the boycott - remain in a state of denial.

The same can be said of the conflicting statements from Gaza "militants" who lay claim to having kidnapped BBC journalist Alan Johnston. The other day they boasted that they had already executed him while today they demand $5 million for his release. It's hard to believe much of what comes out of Gaza these days.

One thing you can believe is Hamas' clear intention that it will not withdraw from its platform of destroying Israel and killing Jews. You can talk to these people but in the end you can't really negotiate peace with those whose aim is to slit your throat!

So what do we make make of all this?

There is a level of groupthink coming from those in "denial" about this conflict which reduces any discussion on the ongoing war between the two peoples to ridiculous levels in order ensure that Israel gets the blame for all that happens to these "oppressed Palestinians" despite the intransigence of these so-called "victims". In turn, the Palestinian leadership has no responsibility for its own people, nor for the guests and visitors within their midst - people like Johnston who was only doing his job when abducted. Then there are those in absolute denial - the likes of this idiot, who thinks Israel is behind everything including Johnston's abduction because it had the most to gain from his removal from the scene (presumably because Johnstone is like those other British journos who simply can't remain objective about any story they tell in relation to the conflict).

This is all part of the tragedy of Palestine. Nobody really wants to do anything that can really help the Palestinians out of the mire - especially not those who claim to be friends because the fact is that, in many ways, it's not about them at all. If it were all about victims, you would have bodies like the Human Rights Council sanctioning Sudan for the slaughter in Darfur, British journalists would be boycotting at least a dozen regimes before picking on democratic Israel for defending itself against those who fire rockets at its civilians on a daily basis and reports like that recently published by the United Nations for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs which highlights the fact that Palestinians are killing each other at an ever-increasing rate would never be lost in the blank pages. No, it's not about the Palestinians and that is why nobody really wants to talk about them or what they do very much - it's just the Jews!


Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Is it Ben from the television series "Lost" or is it the fellow who critics allege produced a book about Israel that had the first print recalled because one of its maps placed Lebanon somewhere between Haifa and Tel Aviv?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Just a day or two after the news broke (but not in the Age) of the disgraceful assault on Israel by boycotting British journalists, The Melbourne Age today brought out its big guns in its own war on Israel.

In the first instance, it published an article by a Reuters journalist on billionaire George Soros' attack on the American Jewish lobby in the New York Review of Books (Soros takes Israeli lobby in Washington to task). Apart from this story being old hat (it broke in the U.S.A more than three weeks ago so why is it news here now?), it fails to mention that the basis of Soros' attack (some shoddy work by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt entitled "The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy") was demolished utterly by respected Israeli historian Benny Morris in a piece published in The New Republic THE IGNORANCE AT THE HEART OF AN INNUENDO. And Now For Some Facts. Morris' article was published almost a year ago but the Age still hasn't caught up with it; nor should we expect it to do so in the near future.

Secondly, Ed O'Loughlin is back doing what he knows best. Turning a bad news story about the behaviour of some Palestinians into a not so subtle attack on Israelis. His story, Journalist death unconfirmed in Gaza, about kidnapped British journalist Alan Johnston is full of his usual syrup about the work of Palestinian security forces and those nice Palestinian journalists searching for the missing journo and isolates them from the nasties who claim to have kidnapped and killed him.

And just to make a point about who O'Loughlin believes the real bad guys in this whole scenario are, he throws in this line:-

"No foreign journalist or aid worker has been harmed by Palestinian militants since the uprising against Israel that began in October 2000, although several have been killed or wounded by Israeli forces."

Well, we won't mention that since October 2000 O'Loughlin's "Palestinian militants" have killed over 1,000 civilians inside Israel including overseas visitors and workers in cold blood by various methods ranging from suicide bomings, shootings and stabbing attacks including the disembowelling of pregnant mothers in front of their children.

We won't mention that most of the "several" O'Loughlin refers to were not deliberately killed or wounded by Israeli soldiers but died while putting themselves in harm's way and were caught in the line of fire while the Israeli soldiers were defending their own citizens from attacks by Ed's "militants".

And we certainly won't mention that among the aid workers that O'Loughlin writes about were people like Rachael Corrie who went to the region after being recruited by the Palestinian Solidarity Movement and its cover group the International Solidarity Movement to act as "human shields" for Palestinian terrorism. The ISM claims to be working for "peace" but it also openly boasts that it supports Palestinian armed struggle against Israel - which means it supports the ongoing war against Israel's civilian population and the Jewish State.

Just like certain journalists we know.

And that's a day's work for Ed O'Loughlin and the folks at the Melbourne Age.

Monday, April 16, 2007


The National Union of Journalists in Britain has this week removed any doubt we might have had about the integrity of their profession and its capacity to deliver truthful reporting of news to its readership with a vote to boycott Israel.

Throwing the full book of accusations at Israel the British journalists' annual delegates meeting not only called for a boycott and sanctions but showed gross ignorance of the facts on the ground by condemning what they described as last year's "savage, pre-planned attack on Lebanon by Israel" (never mind that Hizbullah captured, killed and kidnapped Israeli soldiers and fired missiles at Israeli towns beforehand) the "slaughter of civilians by Israeli troops in Gaza and the IDF’s continued attacks inside Lebanon following the defeat of its army by Hezbollah" (they sound more like a bunch of juvenile and demented cheerleaders than serious writers to me) and called for the end of Israeli aggression in Gaza and other occupied territories.

The absurdity of these allegations is enough to tell us how little the journalists who put forward the motion and the 66 who voted in favour really know what is happening in the Middle East and it follows that their writing simply cannot be trusted.

Let us not forget that it was the British media that told the "Jenin massacre" lie and has been in the business of distorting the news from this region since Yasser Arafat launched his war on Israel in 2000. As I said in my introduction, this motion has simply put beyond doubt what we already knew about them and the very partisan agenda they have in relation to this conflict.

The only slaughter of Palestinians that is taking place at the moment is self-inflicted – at the time of writing 174 Palestinians have been killed this year by fellow Palestinians in warfare between various armed factions and clans, most of it in Gaza where Israel ended its occupation almost two years ago.

The delegates who voted in favour of these motions have brought dishnour on themselves and are no doubt being sneered at by the kidnappers of the only British journalist who had the guts to continue living in Gaza - BBC correspondent Alan Johnston. His kidnappers are among the very terrorists who these British journalists are defending and supporting with their shameful motions.

So let them carry out their pitiful and useless boycott of Israeli goods. Let them switch off their mobile phones, turn off their computers, stop taking their medication and their acne creams (all invented or perfected by Israeli ingenuity). Let them dim their light globes and walk around in darkness because the events of the past few weeks have proven once and for all that the sun has well and truly set on their empire.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


I've always wondered about this question and now the Guardian has answered it in this article.

"West Ham United yesterday denied claims of mistreating their two Israeli players, Yossi Benayoun and Yaniv Katan, who did not take part in the team's training camp in Dubai last week."

Imagine the outcry if two Arab players from Arsenal were left out of a touring party to Israel for the same reason.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


There was a time when people in Israel spoke of Lebanon as a potential peace partner. They used to say that as soon as one Arab country made peace then Lebanon would follow suit.

However, that was before the country was poisoned by its own internal hatreds, by the presence of the PLO and later by Hizbullah. Today, Lebanon is a nation ravaged by civil wars and external wars, the occupation by foreign forces particularly those of Syria and through Hizbullah by by foreign forces particularly those of Syria and through Hizbullah by Iran.

Syria's hand has been behind so much of the decay experienced by Lebanon's civil society - the assassinations, the threats and blackmail of a beleagured government and the arming of Hizbullah along with the Iranians. Of couse the Syrians have destabilised much more of the Middle East than just Lebanon in the same way that Iran which fights proxy wars on Lebanese soil against Israel through Hizbullah has done throughout the region and beyond.

The world has allowed Syria and Iran to get away unchalleneged with far too much for so long that it's reached the point of no return with these two rogue states. The icing on the cake came this week when both Syria and Iran were elected to the U.N. Disarmament Commission in a move that must surely soon see the ringing of the death knell for the entire United Nations Organization.

This is the reward you get in a corrupt world for what you do to your co-religionists and to your neighbours. For these two to be entrusted with disarmament is only to encourage further the damage that both Syria and Iran are inflicting on the people of their region. They threaten Israel with their bombs real and imagined but they have been responsible for killing the people of Lebanon and trampling on their rights for a long period of time.
Last year, journalist Noah Pollak toured war ravaged Lebanon. He has given a fascinating insight into this country in an Azure magazine article as to how the country has been split. Writing about Lebanon, he says,

"For thirty years it was a nation in name only, existing unhappily as a Syrian vassal. In March 2005, the pressures unleashed by the Cedar Revolution drove out official Syrian dominance and inspired a new era of liberal democratic dreams. During my visit this past December, as in the months before and after, Lebanon was roiled by this new political reality–and by the old Lebanese reality, of a nation without a majority religion or ethnicity, a focal point of foreign patronage, a place where Christians, Sunni, Shia, Druze, and the various ethno-religious factions contained within them, perpetually assemble themselves, atomize, and reform in a turbulent competition for supremacy."

Pollack adds that "… there is a Lebanon that exists in the distance, too far away to see from Israel's northern border, and too difficult to discern through the opaque and fevered people camped in the South. It is the Lebanon of the Christians, the moderate Sunnis, and the Druze, the Lebanon that earned Beirut the moniker of the Paris of the Middle East. This Lebanon looks West for inspiration and support, not East, and sustains a loathing for Hezbollah (and the Palestinians) that rivals Israel's. This is the Lebanon of East and West Beirut, of outstanding restaurants, nightlife, beaches, tourism, and Mediterranean joie de vivre. These Lebanese share two vital things with Israel: An aspiration to live in a liberal, democratic society, and a fervent wish to rid their nation of the Islamic extremists who are the perpetual cause of bloodshed, instability, and warfare. Israel and Lebanon, in this regard, are more similar to each other than either of them is to any other nation in the region. In the 1980s, a Lebanese Christian leader declared that 'the Western world should either defend us, or change its name.' Israel is a member in high standing of the Western world, and should not exempt itself from sympathizing with such pleas."

Pollack proceeds to lay bare many of the myths that the Hizbullah propaganda machine successfully established through its sucessful wartime public relations campaign aided by sympathetic lackeys in the Western media.

"Southern Lebanon is not uniformly Shia. It is scattered with a few enduring Christian villages, one of which, named Ain Ebel, sits near Bint Jbeil, and is a Hezbollah-free zone. This town is spread across the northern-facing slope of one of the area’s many smooth, undulating hillsides, and from the top of this hill, where a few houses stand, the Israeli border is easily visible in the distance below. Many of the houses in the town, especially the ones closest to the hilltop, were badly damaged by Israeli bombardment during the war, seemingly confirming the charge that Israel had targeted civilians, or at least that the Israel Defense Forces attacked Lebanon indiscriminately. But that is not the reality of Ain Ebel: Israel did not lay siege to the town–Hezbollah did, and the manner in which it went about doing so should clarify the true cynical brilliance of Hezbollah's asymmetric tactics.

"The residents of Ain Ebel, in several different interviews, explained to us that at the outset of the war, Hezbollah transported a number of rocket launchers into the village and set them up for use as close to civilian houses as possible. Meanwhile, Israel was dropping leaflets over most of southern Lebanon urging civilians to evacuate (many of these leaflets were still visible, blown into countryside ditches and brambles). When the air campaign started, Hezbollah blocked the roads leading out of Ain Ebel, preventing civilians from fleeing, and on one occasion even opened fire on a caravan of evacuees, forcing them to return to their homes. With many of its residents trapped in the town, Hezbollah ignored the abundant open spaces in Ain Ebel, and fired rockets instead from within meters of civilian houses, drawing Israeli fire onto the village. As we surveyed Ain Ebel’s houses, many in varying states of reconstruction, I had to grudgingly admire this clever way of waging war against modern Western armies, when the combination of our precision munitions, a media that treats Western militaries with skepticism, and the expectation of morally perfect warfare have made civilian casualties one of the most dominant points of contention in warfare.

"From Hezbollah's perspective, premeditating the creation of civilian casualties makes perfect sense: It ensures the highest possible rate of return for the Katyusha rocket, insofar as it is turned into a weapon that can be used to kill both Lebanese and Israelis. More importantly, I realized, it accomplished something stunning in that it allowed an inferior power to use its adversary's superior weaponry to carry out its own battlefield strategy. In Ain Ebel and elsewhere, Hezbollah was in effect aiming Israeli firepower, directing its missiles and artillery onto Hezbollah’s preferred targets–houses, hospitals, apartment buildings, anywhere civilians could be found–knowing that Israel would be punished by the ensuing international outrage. Scenes of civilian death and destruction are irresistible for the Western image media, and the course of the summer war was affected perhaps like none before it by the manner in which the spectacle of dead Lebanese galvanized anti-Israel actors. Many people refer to Hezbollah's tactic as the use of 'human shields,' but this gets it exactly backward: It implies that Hezbollah was trying to protect its assets by using civilians to deter an Israeli attack.
In fact, Hezbollah was trying to provoke Israeli bombardment so that both human lives and infrastructure would be destroyed, and the Party of God could enjoy the resulting moral absolution. In this way, Hezbollah achieved its greatest victory in the war, which was its ability to transform the narrative of the conflict from one in which Israel was defending itself from attack by a terrorist organization to one in which Israel was barbarically laying waste to civilian Lebanon."

I wonder from where Hizbullah got this tactic?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


ABC radio has now released the transcript to the segment on Hamas from Monday's edition of FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT. However, I'm somewhat perplexed about the ABC's use of terminology.

The item is entitled, "HAMAS URGED TO RENOUNCE TERRORISM" but presenter Elizabeth Jackson describes Hamas as a "Palestinian militant group".

Doesn't Hamas use terror like suicide bombings, rocket attacks on civilian areas and other cold-blooded methods of killing like suicide bombings, rocket attacks on civilian areas and other cold-blooded methods of killing as a tactic to terrorise the Israelis (not to mention the atricites it commits against its own people)? Here's a recent example of Hamas' modus operandi -ISRAEL SAYS HAMAS PLANNED TEL AVIV TRUCK BOMBING.

The article from Agence France Presse gives us a pointer that might help Ms. Jackson and the ABC out of the militant/terrorist bind.

"Although the Islamist movement - the main party in a Palestinian unity government - has largely abided by a November ceasefire agreement with Israel, its armed wing has been involved in a growing number of attacks against Israeli targets in recent weeks, including the shooting of a civilian along the Gaza Strip border." (note: there's no mention here of the continued use of quassam rockets fired across the border into Israeli towns and villages aimed at its civilians)

Get that?

According to the AFP, the political wing of Hamas, which was elected to govern the Palestinians a year ago, has "largely abided" by the so called November ceasefire. They're not the terrorists and they don't break cease fire agreements - its the armed wing of the organisation that does that. Hamas takes no responsibility - they're just militants - not terrorists!

Thanks to the ABC's David Hardaker the FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT report tells us a little more about Hamas and the way it exploits Palestinian children - some as young in age as four - for its sinister and obscene terrorist ends. His story tells of how the Hamas television station in Gaza featured the young children of a female suicide bomber apparently glorifying their mother's deadly attack on Israeli soldiers. Jackson says in her introduction that this "broadcast comes as Hamas ministers in the Palestinian Government face international pressure to explicitly renounce the use of terror against Israel."

Hamas, of course, routinely refuses to renounce the use of terror and its apologists routinely continue to obfuscate about the reasons.

"HARDAKER: The international community will demand from Hamas that they condemn suicide bombing, that when you see something like that on the television, Hamas television, it's not condemning it. Do you condemn this kind of action?

"WASFI KABAHA: Well, we are against terrorism. Palestinian people, all Palestinian people, are against terrorism. But never ask the Palestinian people not to defend themselves.Why you are asking us to do something that asking the Israeli side actually to explain their activities against the Palestinian people? "

The truth is something different altogether to Kabaha's pathetic explanation. It can be found in the Hamas Charter Article 7.

We need to talk about that further, don't we?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Bradley Burston wrote in Ha'aretz recently about the silence among many on the left of politics when it comes to Muslim atrocities and Muslim victims.

"We were taught to sniff out, publicize, and condemn every instance of racism, violence, injustice, and humiliation practiced by Israeli Jews against Palestinian Muslims. And that was as it should be.

"But we were also taught that it was racist to impose our Western values on the acts of Muslims, even, or especially, when it came to the most extreme of Muslims.

"We can, with facility, therefore, comprehend all Muslim atrocities against Muslims in Iraq as the direct, understandable, and legitimate response to the American-British occupation.

"We were taught wrong.

"We can understand terrorism in Bali, in London, in the Twin Towers, as an outgrowth of anger over American expansionism and Israeli military repression.

"We were taught wrong.

"There are, of course, many Jews whose selective blindness works in the other direction, condemning Muslims at every opportunity, as though that made wrongdoing by Jews eminently forgivable and forgettable. As though we are somehow made moral by the moral failings of our neighbors.

"This is what we should have been taught: Violations of human rights are violations of human rights, regardless of the cultural background of the perpetrator, regardless of the background of the victim.

"This is what we should have retained: One way to demonstrate compassion for victims is to stop showing sensitivity to their tormentors. Even if both are Muslims. Because it's our business to cry out. Because the victims are human beings. Because villains deserve to be denounced."

Monday, April 09, 2007


The BBC's Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston is the only Western news correspondent based in Gaza and he's missing, abducted four weeks ago and feared kidnapped.

Today's Australian Newspaper editorialises that the "kidnapping of journalists is an abhorrent practice, representing a war against free speech."

Although the editorial is entitled "KIDNAPPING HOPE", I see nothing in it to bring hope to anyone, let alone Alan Johnston. It opines that this kidnapping and the PA government’s "lack of authority only go to highlight the disintegration of order in the Palestinian territory, where more than 100 people have been killed since last year's elections. The state has slumped into a shambolic hotbed of lawlessness, where armed gangs feud over family, factional and territorial disputes. The fight between Fatah and Hamas, with its various militias and assassinations and targeted killings, has created a civil war as brutal as anything outside Baghdad. Johnston's kidnapping has only raised the stakes further for the Hamas-led Government's legitimacy."

That isn't even half of the story of life today under a Hamas-led government.

Yesterday, on CORRESPONDENTS REPORT, our own ABC radio highlighted the extent to which Hamas abuses its own children, some as young as 4 years, by encouraging them to view suicide bombers as "martyrs". The glorification of cold-blooded murderers in this fashion is just another version of kidnapping Palestinian style.

When the minds of young children are stolen and the party elected to govern the Palestinians is the agency that is sowing the seeds of hatred in its people even at a young age, then what chance is there for peace and reconciliation between Jew and Arab in the region?

It is time to talk about Palestine!

[FOOTNOTE: The Australian editorial refers to more than 100 people killed since last year's elections. I have been reminded that the figure is well in excess of that. According to Elder of Ziyon who keeps a tally of such things, the number is 163 just this calendar year - a number far in excess of the number of Palestinians killed in IDF operations against Palestinian terrorists (or "militants" if you like).]

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Last week the Australian Newspaper published a piece by Lynne Segal, an Australian academic based in the U.K. Segal is also a member of the Independent Jewish Voices and her piece, entitled "WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT ISRAEL", is typical of the IAV/IAJV mould - written as if nobody has ever previously discussed Israel critically either within or without mainstream Jewish communities.

There are as many holes in Ms. Segal's argument as you can find in a reasonably sized piece of Swiss cheese and most of them would be fairly obvious to readers of the Blank Pages. Here's a little taste of her of her logic:-

"We also know that Israel has been responsible for the most continual and extreme elimination of human rights in its occupied territories for the past 40 years." (How do we know that?)

"This includes not only brutal policies of collective punishment, arbitrary arrests and accidental shootings, but also routinely undermining Palestinians' right to free movement, water, education or even access to sources of livelihood within what are their own their own territories."

So even accidental shootings form part of Israel's deliberate policies designed to punish the Palestinian people. I've now heard everything! (Reminder: Please carry out some research into whether Ms. Segal's ancestors came from Chelm)

True to form, Segal's highly selective presentation condemning alleged Israeli human rights violations, almost completely omits to mention that the Palestinians themselves might have been routinely responsible for violating the rights of their Israeli neighbours as well as of their own kind for many years.

Segal does condemn in a general way some unmentioned Palestinian "atrocities" (thankfully she doesn't attempt to do an Yvonne Ridley by attempting to rationalise and justify suicide bombings) but she ignores the rather obvious connection between those atrocities and the necessity on Israel's part to defend itself which has resulted in the setting up of those nasty checkpoints and has caused it to construct the security barrier which has been so successful in reducing attacks on Israeli citizens.

The Israeli side of the story is ignored not only by Segal but also by virtually all of the other IAV's whether British, Australian or from Kazakhstan for that matter (to be fair however, Borat himself prefers to concentrate on the "Jews as wood lice" theory).

By all means then, we need to talk about Israel, but it's clear that we need to talk about Palestine as well - and indeed, that's exactly what I will be doing very soon.

In the meantime and in view of the season of the year, I'd like to set the tone for my forthcoming discussion on the narratives of Israel and her neighbours by going back a little in time to look at another people's narrative - that of the Egyptians - in this piece about some long standing Israeli human rights violations. (I swear this story was not written by Lynne Segal)

Saturday, April 07, 2007


It’s not my usual practice to quote Lebanon’s Daily Star but staff writer Michael Young got a few things right in WHEN A DILETTANTE TAKES ON HIZBULLAH.

Responding to the visit to Syria of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Young berates the Democrat for her comment that "the road to solving Lebanon's problems passes through Damascus." He reminds her that her statement will only harm efforts to ensure that Syria ends its meddling in Lebanese affairs and will thereby strengthen Hizbullah's position in that beleagured country.

Young adds that in 2000 Hizbullah "lost much of its reason to exist as a military force when the Israelis withdrew from Southern Lebanon. The manufacturing of the Shebaa Farms pretext, thanks to the diligent efforts of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, bought Hizbullah an extension, a handy fig leaf allowing it to keep its weapons. Last summer, however, the party's initiation of a war devastating to Lebanon, followed by its efforts to lead a coup against the majority, demolished any lingering cross-sectarian support that Hizbullah had enjoyed.

"Hizbullah's weapons are no longer regarded as weapons of resistance by most Lebanese, but as weapons of sectarian discord."

Young concludes:-

"For years, pundits and analysts have spoken of Hizbullah's 'integration into Lebanese society. ' Their underlying premise was that the party somehow desired this. Optimists pointed to Hizbullah's participation in successive parliamentary elections as an example of its willingness to 'assimilate.' The naivete deployed was remarkable. It rarely occurred to the experts that Hizbullah did not start as, nor truly is, a social services organization. It is an Iranian-financed military and security enterprise overseeing a vast and competent patronage system designed to win Shiite backing, allowing Hizbullah to retain its weapons. It never occurred to the experts that Hizbullah's objective in participating in the political system was not to jettison its military identity, but rather to safeguard it within the confines of Lebanese institutions it could thereafter influence."

Friday, April 06, 2007


Yvonne Ridley, an unrepentant anti-Semite and apologist for Islamist terrorism around the world, will be a speaker at the first annual Australian Islamic Conference in Melbourne this weekend.

This is the conference to which controversial figure, Sheik Bilal Philips, was headed before immigration officials barred his entry into Australia. Philips has been linked to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York. A second sheik from Saudia Arabia was also banned fom entering Australia because he failed to provide sufficient information as to why he should be allowed into the country. In their absence, Ridley now takes star billing at the conference.

According to Wikipedia Ridley, a convert to Islam after being held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan, holds a view on the Palestine/Israel conflict, which is "pretty much in line with that of Hamas." According to Ridley, Israel is "that disgusting little watchdog of America that is festering in the Middle East".

Ridley is a member of the Respect Party, an unbelievably misnamed British political party headed by George Galloway. She claims that the Respect Party "is a Zionist-free party… if there was any Zionism in the Respect Party they would be hunted down and kicked out. We have no time for Zionists", while both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties are "riddled with Zionists."

Of course, this begs the question as to why any self-respecting Zionist would want to be a member of a party that harbours such racist ratbags.

Ridley once defended Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's campaign of violence in Iraq and Jordan and described the victims of the November 2005 Amman bombings (60 dead and 115 injured - many of them guests at a wedding party) in Jordan as "Iraqi collaborators."

Meanwhile, at home, she urged Muslims in Britain to refuse to co-operate with the police investigating terrorist activities.

To really understand how loathsome an individual Ridley has become since her conversion to Islam, here’s more from Wikipedia: -

"After the Chechen terrorist leader Shamil Basayev (architect of the Moscow theater hostage crisis and the Beslan school massacre) was killed, Ridley wrote a column stating that Basayev had become a 'shaheed', that is, a martyr whose place in Paradise is assured. She went on to refer to Basayev as leader of 'an admirable struggle to bring independence to Chechnya'. In response to objections that Basayev's actions killed many civilians, Ridley stated that he 'resorted to targeting Russian civilians in the latter years of his struggle to try and bring the plight of the Chechen struggle to the wider world,' and blamed the majority of civilian casualties on Russian troops sent in to rescue the hostages, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary."

So, speaking the truth is not Ridley's strongest suit.

Australian Opposition immigration spokesman Tony Burke has asked how a person who praised Basayev as a martyr and urged Muslims in Britain not to co-operate with police, and who has described suicide bombings as "martyrdom operations", could pass the character test required for a visa into the country. He urges the government to kick her out of the country.

I agree Australia could easily do without Ridley but to throw her out of the country would be to turn her into a cause celebre among certain groups here. She would almost certainly be regarded as "a martyr" while the focus would be taken away from the objectionable views she espouses. The intolerance, hatred and lack of respect for others inherent in her message would be whitewashed in the controversy, thereby severely limiting the prospects of any debate on her offensive ideas.

Rather than deport her, Ridley and her extremist views should be exposed to critical scrutiny for only in this way can we understand not only their inherent danger to our society but how counterproductive they are to the very people she claims to support. An example of the latter proposition is that she sings from the same song book as the Islamists who control the Palestine Authority and whose stated aims are to destroy the Jewish State and kill Jews - which is one of the main reasons why the attainment of peace between Israel and Palestine is proving so elusive.

Such positions are well documented and widely understood in the Middle East but they are all too easily brushed aside in general discussions on this subject while in the Jewish community, the tiny minority of so-called "independent voices" who speak out against Israel would rather leave them tidily brushed under the carpet out of sight and out of mind.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Noam Schalit, father of kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Schalit, spoke out on Friday at a rally held to show empathy for the three kidnapped IDF soldiers held by Hamas and and Hizbullah.

Mr. Schalit, who is standing up bravely under the pressure of his son's kidnapping, is critical "of a system that failed to internalize lessons of the past," "UDI, ELDAD & GILAD ARE NOT FREE MEN" and he makes a valid point; perhaps the system hasn't done enough or has proved inadequate in securing Gilad's release.

One wonders however, whether the lessons of the past are of much use when dealing with Hamas and Hizbullah and their friends. What we have here are ruthless kidnappers representing organisations that show disdain for the norms of human decency. International laws and standards relating to captured prisoners do not apply with Hamas and Hizbullah; there are no visits from the Red Cross and not even a sign as to whether any of the three are alive.

The international community is virtually of no help despite a U.N resolution which called for their release; you won't find articles in your local newspaper about the plight of the captives and their families or even any criticism of the methods of their captors. There are very few voices of support and comfort out there to help guide them home.

Recent negotiations have brought a ray of hope for Gilad's release but these appear to have stalled as a result of internal divisions within Hamas. Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper revealed yesterday that the group holding him "are hard-liners who oppose the Mecca agreement, which formed the basis for the Palestinian national unity government."

Incidentally, to understand the depths of the Hamas pathology one need go no further than the Ha'aretz article quoted above which concludes with the revelation that "the 7-year-old son of a Hamas operative was killed yesterday in the Gaza Strip when a hand grenade went off inside the family home." The frustration continues for all men and women of decency who dream that one day all of the people of the region can live in freedom and in peace.

The Jewish Agency and the Keren Maor Foundation, also known as Amutat Habanim, which represents the families of the abducted soldiers have had prepared a special Seder prayer to be recited tomorrow night for those who celebrate the Jewish Festival of Pessach.

"He who redeems prisoners shall save them from captivity and take them out of slavery to freedom, and from oppression to redemption, and from darkness to light, and He shall heal them fully in soul and body, and grant them strength, happiness and joy, so they shall be strong, healthy and content."

There are other captives in the region who are also suffering at this very time. We should add to our prayers BBC reporter Alan Johnston, missing in Gaza, and the 15 British sailors languishing in Tehran. May they also be freed and brought to safety and back soon to their family and friends.