13 May 2013

Sydney Peace Foundation's chairman Stuart Rees: strangely skewed "peace activist"

From: The Australian, May 14, 2013:     
THE Sydney Peace Foundation's ... chairman Stuart Rees, ...has cast a cloud over the organisation's bona fides by dismissing the London Declaration on Combating Anti-Semitism... His condemnation of Julia Gillard and opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne for "cowardice" in signing it almost beggars belief.
The Prime Minister and Mr Pyne are two of more than 125 politicians from 40 countries who have signed the declaration, which is a well-modulated affirmation of "democratic and human values" advocating societies built on respect, combating anti-Semitism and discrimination. As Mr Pyne said last week, it is sad that, 70 years after the Holocaust, it remains necessary to defend the right of Jewish people to live in Israel - the Middle East's only mature democracy - free of anti-Semitic activities such as the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions campaign.
Professor Rees's stance, in line with many on the Left, contains a curious anomaly. In recent years, while the Left has become more critical of Israel, its Palestinian opponents have become more jihadist. Israel's critics also pay little heed to the encroaching influence of Iran, one of the world's most oppressive and menacing regimes. Late last year, after supporting the Palestinian Authority's bid for statehood at the UN, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated his nation's attitude to Israel when he said any deal that accepted the Jewish state's existence would leave a "cancerous tumour" forever threatening Middle East security...
Through Sudan and Egypt, Iran has been shipping major new weapons supplies to the Hamas terrorists in Gaza, who have governed there since winning a majority of parliamentary seats in 2006. The rockets and missiles are being stockpiled in anticipation of military conflict with Israel, to be sparked by action over Iran's nuclear ambitions or the civil war in Iran's ally, Syria.
Iran also has cemented its influence in the Middle East by arming its other surrogate, Hezbollah, with Iranian-supplied rockets in Lebanon. The evidence is incontrovertible that the Assad regime in Damascus, in close collusion with Iran, is seeking to transfer stockpiles of Fateh-110 missiles, with the capacity to carry a half-tonne warhead more than 300km, to Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon. Such a prospect represents a serious threat to Israel.
Against such a background, the focus of Professor Rees's "peace" foundation is what he calls "the internationally illegal policies of the government of Israel". ...the professor fails to address the religious fanaticism of Israel's main opponents. For the head of an organisation ostensibly committed to peace, such bias suggests underlying values that are strangely skewed.