Charles Moore of the Daily Telegraph asks the rhetorical question - What if Israelis had abducted BBC man
?"Watching the horrible video of Alan Johnston of the BBC broadcasting Palestinian propaganda under orders from his kidnappers, I found myself asking what it would have been like had he been kidnapped by Israelis, and made to do the same thing the other way round.
"The first point is that it would never happen. There are no Israeli organisations - governmental or freelance - that would contemplate such a thing. That fact is itself significant.
"But just suppose that some fanatical Jews had grabbed Mr Johnston and forced him to spout their message, abusing his own country as he did so. What would the world have said?
"There would have been none of the caution which has characterised the response of the BBC and of the Government since Mr Johnston was abducted on March 12. The Israeli government would immediately have been condemned for its readiness to harbour terrorists or its failure to track them down."
This is not only true in Britain where certain elements of the media have adopted a feral attitude towards Israel while, at the same time turning askance at all crimes and misdemeanors of its sworn enemies but also in parts of the Australian media. The Melbourne Age provides a clear example of this sort of animus towards the Jewish State through its usual suspect Ed O'Loughlin.
O'Loughlin's carefully worded but factually sloppy piece
on Saturday was a prime example of how this particular reporter panders to the Palestinian complaint that "the occupation" of Palestinian land is the root of all evil. This is done by glossing over the events that led to Israel's military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and Israel's attempts to make peace immediately after the Six Day War. He is naturally indifferent to the fact that, in the intervening decades, armed Palestinian groups, acting under the orders of elected Palestinian leaderships have done their level best to prevent the end of "the occupation" because that is not their primary aim.
O'Loughlin refuses to recognise that Israel ended its occupation of Gaza (an with it the occupation of a significant percentage of Palestinian citizens) in 2005 or the plethora of agreements breached by the Palestine Authority which, had they been honoured, would have led to an end to the "occupation" and the creation of a Palestinian State living side by side in peace with Israel.
Instead, O'Loughlin offers this to his readers:-"… the isolated Palestinian enclave of Gaza remains, in the eyes of the United Nations, under Israeli military occupation despite the withdrawal of about 7500 Jewish settlers in 2005."
It was so nice of him not to mention that in addition to the withdrawal of the settlers in 2005, Israel also withdrew its military
as well and while the soldiers and settlers were leaving, the Palestinian armed groups including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah kept firing qassam rockets - not at Israel's "military" but at Israeli homes, schools and synagogues across the border. In addition, those armed groups continued to spread hatred and incitement and threatened to kill Jews and destroy the Jewish State and smuggled weapons by water and through the border with Egypt making it necessary for Israel to exercise some control over Gaza's air space, sea access and borders. There was scant attention paid by the Palestinian leadership to developing an economy or a civil society that could live in peace with its neighbours.
Nor does O'Loughlin provide the specifics of whose opinion in the United Nations Gaza remains "under military occupation". Perhaps it’s the same people at the United Nations who run a Human Rights Commission that ignores real human rights around the world and concentrates on damning Israel at every opportunity or perhaps it's that part of the United Nations that puts a corrupt and virtually bankrupt Zimbabwe at the helm of world economic development?
O'Loughlin's main objective is to rail against the "occupation" but the sins of those among the Palestinians who act to perpetuate that "occupation" are swept under the carpet at every opportunity by this reporter who has routinely failed to report whenever they conduct themselves shamefully as the elected to govern Hamas did over the Mickey Mouse children's programme. Not a word from O'Loughlin about that or the Hamas Charter or the refusal of Hamas to negotiate with an Israel it refuses to recognise and wants to destroy.
This is one example of how the Age protects the enemies of Israel. Another is its recent shameful coverage of the discredited claims by Tim Fischer. Yesterday's Sunday Age published three letters to the editor about those claims as follows:-
Tim Fischer's piece "Six days of war, 40 years of secrecy" (27/5) extraordinarily fails to even mention the Israeli claims, accepted by the US, that Israeli forces attacked the USS Liberty during the 1967 Six-Day War solely because they thought the ship was Egyptian.
Transcripts released by the US National Security Agency in 2003 confirm this. As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald (11/7/2003), a US spy plane recorded a conversation by two Israeli helicopter pilots after the attack, in which the pilots, who were unaware they were being recorded, referred to the ship as Egyptian and were surprised on flying over it to discover it had an American flag. Some conspiracy theorists have since claimed that these transcripts were forged. However, Robert Nowicki, who was on the US spy plane that day, has confirmed they are accurate.
Fischer also claims the Liberty incident may have delayed a Palestinian state. Immediately after the war, Israel offered to trade captured land for peace, but was rebuffed by the 1967 Arab League with the "three no's" - no recognition, no negotiation, no peace. It is such intransigence by the Palestinian leadership and their backers that is primarily responsible for preventing the emergence of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
JAMIE HYAMS, Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council
Tim Fischer ("Six days of war, 40 years of secrecy", 27/5) is right on the money in outlining the balance of probability in the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967. It has been quite obvious for years to any prepared to stomach the facts that this attack was deliberate.
Stand by now, Tim, for a two-pronged attack - one from the usual suspects in the pro-Israel lobby and the other from your former government colleagues who will denounce you for having gone native.
GREG O'CONNOR, Yeerongpilly, Qld
Just plain stupidity
Tim Fischer's article on the USS Liberty incident omits one major issue - motive. What reason did Israel have to deliberately attack a US warship?
"Hanlon's Razor", a popular adage, reminds us to "never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity". Even after 40 years, it is far more believable that Israeli forces, in the midst of a major war with their Arab neighbours, mistook the Liberty for an enemy ship.
NEIL CAMERON, Waratah
Greg O'Connor's letter merely repeated Fischer's drivel which has been plainly discredited by the facts. The Israel Lobby canard is suggestive of the writer's paranoia but the latter's publication can best be summed up by the title of Neil Cameron's letter because it was more than careless of the Age to run with a lie that was exposed some four years ago. It was just plain stupid.
In the words of Florida Judge Jay Cristol whose doctoral thesis covered the sinking of the USS Liberty and who studied the transcripts of conversations held by two Israeli Air Force helicopter pilots who were hovering over the Liberty as it was sinking as recorded by an American spy plane recorded: "It's the last piece of intelligence that remained classified, and every rational person that will read it will understand that there is no truth in these conspiracy theories against Israel. [But] those who hate Israel, who hate Jews, and those who believe in conspiracy, will not be convinced by anything."