28 May 2015

Boycotters' hypocrisy

From The Australian Letters, 29 May 2015:

No explanation on BDS
Jake Lynch (Letters, 27/5) claims the pro-Israel lobby exploits cries of anti-Semitism to silence critics of Israel. That is simply a canard put out by proponents of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign to prevent the community looking too closely at what motivates them.
Neither Lynch nor any other BDS campaigner has ever adequately explained why their sole focus is on the world’s only Jewish state when there are many other countries with human rights records far worse than what Israel is accused of. While Lynch claims that the aim of BDS is to end Israel’s occupation, many BDS organisers have made it clear that their real aim is the replacement of Israel with a state where Jews are a minority.

Danny Samuels, Malvern, Vic

27 May 2015

Mal Brough: the Jewish people have a right to their homeland

Extract from the Parliament of Australia Hansard Tuesday, 26 May 2015, Page: 87:

Mal Brough, Member for Fisher
Mr BROUGH (Fisher) (21:10): The subject I wish to raise tonight is not one which lends itself to a five-minute address. Just before the budget I travelled to Israel as part of a delegation with the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council. For me it was incredibly illuminating and also sobering. There are many members in this place who have travelled to Israel to learn about the complexity of an issue and a region that affects everyone of us. As recently as today, we in this House have reflected on ISIS and the radicalisation of Islam and the impact it has on us. In Israel I met with all sides—Arab Christians, Jews and Arab Muslims. I travelled to Ramallah, to Gaza and up to the border with Lebanon. I got an appreciation of the challenges faced by these people and also the strength of this society and community.
There are a couple of observations I would like to make and put on the record which I think cemented my own views before I travelled. First of all, we say all the time in this place that the first duty of the parliament and of the government is to protect its people—and border protection has been at the forefront of our thinking in recent years. For the Prime Minister and government of Israel, the reality is that you have literally 15 seconds between receiving a warning and missiles landing in Beersheba, a place known so well to many Australians. The playgrounds have bomb shelters in them. By law, every house has to have a bomb shelter. This brings into stark relief what these people are dealing with each and every day, yet they get on with their lives.
One of the things that struck me on this one-week trip is that something stands out. I defy anyone to come up with a comment by an Israeli official that they wish to obliterate the Arab world, that they wish to destroy the Palestinian people, that they wish to attack Iran, that they wish to take out those forces in Lebanon just for the sake of it or that those people do not have a place in society. Those words do not exist—because it is not the belief of the Jewish people. But, sadly, there are Persians and Arabs who actually believe that no Israeli, no Jew, has the right to be in the nation of Israel. Everyone we spoke to on the Israeli side, and many of the Arabs, wants to see the two nations living side-by-side in harmony. I too want to see that. But how does the government of the day deal with the Palestinian Authority? Is it Fatah or is it Hamas? If you are on the Gaza Strip, you are dealing with a different body than if you are on the West Bank.
It was less than 12 months ago, when the rockets were raining down, that the tunnels that were going to deliver killers into the suburbs and towns of Israel were discovered and destroyed. Because of the international ramifications—as well as the implications for our people and our nation—of the radicalisation that is occurring in this part of the world I think it behoves those who have declined the opportunity to travel to Israel and learn about it to now do so and open their minds in relation to some attitudes which they hold dear which they may find confronting when they are confronted with other facts.
With my last couple of comments I wish to comment about the young people that we met—the university students and the young military personnel who have responsibility beyond their years but have such a joyful life, whether it is working in the IT sector and the start-ups, in the military or in the universities. 
They have a responsibility. They have a love for life that they cherish, and I understand their desire to protect their homeland—a homeland of thousands of years. What they are doing there needs the support of all Australians, as do the Palestinian people, but at no stage should we ever desert the Israeli people and the Jewish people's right to have their homeland.

25 May 2015

The Lynch mob: baying for for a genocidal bloodbath

From The Australian, May 26, 2015, by Ted Lapkin:

Replacing Israel with a unitary Arab-Jewish state is lunacy

Jake Lynch, second right, just before the Kemp address. Picture: David Sokol/J-Wire
Jake Lynch, second right, just before the Kemp address, with the protesters who shortly afterwards forcefully disrupted the lecture. He claims that they took him “completely by surprise”....
Picture: David Sokol/J-Wire Source: Supplied

University of Sydney associate professor Jake Lynch vociferously denied harbouring anti-Semitic intent as he whipped out a $5 note from his wallet and waved it beneath the nose of a 75-year-old Jewish woman. He has since issued a statement proclaiming his horror this incident might “invoke a vile stereotype, connected to the persecution of Jews in Europe”.

Lacking a window into the depths of Lynch’s soul, I’m unable to assess the authenticity of his demurrer. Perhaps he truly is that ­obtuse.

The event in question took place in March during the riotous disruption of a lecture given at the university by retired British Army colonel Richard Kemp. Kemp has attracted particular venom from the anti-Zionist Left over his statements upholding the moral legitimacy and legal validity of Israeli army combat tactics. The colonel goes so far as to argue — as an infantry officer of 30 years’ experience — that Israel’s military takes greater care to avoid gratuitous civilian battlefield casualties than did British troops in Afghanistan.

But campus radicals were disinclined to tolerate such an overt challenge to their anti-Zionist trope and dispatched a squad to quash this event. A contingent ...muscled their way into the lecture hall, brandishing vacuously worded placards and chanting all the usual inanities through a loudspeaker that drowned out the colonel’s voice.

Lynch declares that this tumultuous onslaught by anti-Israel protesters took him “completely by surprise”. Yet a photograph taken shortly before the start of the Kemp address shows Lynch immersed in a convivial chat with the same leftist radicals whose invasion of the lecture hall was imminent. In fact, one may be excused for counting him among the ranks of the protesters because he appears in this snapshot holding up one end of the squad’s ­Israel-phobic banner.

But in view of Lynch’s professed dedication to the principle that contentious issues should be “respectfully discussed”, perhaps he was using this opportunity to provide instruction on the finer points of civil debate. Indeed.

In his statement Lynch asseverates that his support for an academic boycott of Israel “does not make me anti-Israeli, much less anti-Semitic”. But this assertion makes sense only if one accepts the dubious proposition that there’s nothing anti-Jewish about hostility towards the world’s only Jewish state.

Lynch goes on to aver that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement seeks only “an end to the 1967 occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip”. Yet the movement’s global umbrella body, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, makes no bones about its more ambitious objective — the eradication of Israel as we know it. 

Just last year, BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti proudly declared: 
“Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sellout Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”

The BDS movement instead advocates the merger of Israel and the Palestinian territories into a non-sectarian Arab-Jewish unitary state. Barghouti blithely assures us that such a unified Israel-Palestine will become a model of secular democracy where inter-communal goodwill reigns supreme. He pledges a one-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will create “a truly promising land, rather than a false Promised Land”.

But such halcyon theories wither into nothingness on exposure to the deeply rooted path­ologies that afflict the political culture of the Muslim Middle East. All those liberal dreams of freedom generated by the Arab Spring in 2011 have long since been crushed beneath the treads of army tanks and the heels of jihadi boots. There’s no cogent reason to believe an Arab-majority Israel-Palestine would fare any better.

The past quarter-century has taught us a well-established culture of political pluralism is a necessary precondition for peaceful multi-ethnic coexistence. From Sarajevo in the 1990s to present-day Syria we’ve witnessed the bloody descent into barbarism of culturally diverse societies lacking strong democratic traditions.

An Arab-dominated Israel-Palestine inevitably would degenerate into another failed Levantine satrapy where Islamic radicals battle secular autocrats for absolute power; with individual liberty nowhere to be seen.

The murderous brutality with which Hamas has suppressed political dissent in Gaza would be a mere prologue for the bloodiness to come. And one only has to observe the ongoing massacres of Yazidis and Christians in Syria and Iraq to envisage a similar fate befalling a Jewish community reduced to minority status in the Land of Israel.

The anti-Zionist campaign to replace Israel with a unitary Arab-Jewish state is a symptom of political lunacy. 

At best, proponents of a one-state solution are afflicted by a utopian delirium that blinds them to the truth that their policy formula is a recipe for a genocidal anti-Semitic bloodbath. 

At worst, these high-minded professions of progressive virtue urging the demise of the Middle East’s sole democracy are mere window-dressing that conceals a more ancient and insidious agenda.

23 May 2015

The Iranian regime can’t be trusted

From The Australian, 23 May 2015, by Michael Danby, federal member for Melbourne Ports:

The Lowy Institute’s Rodger Shanahan recently suggested ...that because of the sudden rise of Islamic State, with all its attendant genocide, mass rape and destruction of ancient culture, the West’s interests could be better served by closer engagement with Iran. 

Michael Danby, federal member for Melbourne Ports

I disagree.

This analysis assumes Iran is more moderate than it actually is. Yes, Iran desires commercial ­engagement with the West, but it is wrong to think a conciliatory shift in policy by the West would bring a corresponding softening of Iranian positions.

Iran has shown repeatedly that it will pursue its perceived interests regardless of the conse­quences. As former Obama defence secretary and CIA chief Leon Panetta said,
“the Iranians can’t be trusted”.
Iran’s principal aims are to undermine the Middle East’s US-backed Sunni-led status quo and to replace the US as the regional hegemonic power.

Tehran also persists with the apparently unchanged ideology of its Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, to destroy Israel. As recently as last month it was being reported that General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, head of the Basij militia, said Israel’s destruction was “non-negotiable” (Newsmax website).

These Iranian policies contradict the notion that because Iran has allegedly moderated, Australia can join the cosying up to Iran.

No one should doubt Iran’s commitment to its client, Hezb­ollah (still officially classified as a terrorist organisation in Australia). Iran is increasingly dominant in preserving Bashar al-Assad’s brutal Syria.
Recently, Hezbollah thugs working for one Iranian-aligned Syrian security boss beat to death another who questioned Iran’s near-complete dominance of Syria. (He objected to Hezbollah using his house as an artillery ­position.) It may not be long before an Iranian putsch eliminates Assad and installs an even more subservient client.

Iran’s direct regional aggression continues all the while.

Iran­ian-aligned Houthi rebels captured Yemen’s capital. General Qasem Soleimani, comman­der of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, acts as a Persian viceroy, dominating Iraq’s government and Shi’ite militias. So alarmed is America’s chief Middle East ally, Saudi Arabia, that Prince Turki bin Faisal, the former Saudi intelligence chief, said in February,
“Whatever the Iranians have, we will have, too.”
... “(Obama) did go behind the backs of the trad­itional allies of the US to strike the (Iran nuclear) deal … (Although) the small print of the deal is still unknown”, it “opens the door to nuclear proliferation, not closes it, as was the initial intention.”
According to The New York Times this month, the Saudi prince argued the US was making a “pivot to Iran” that was ill-advised, and the US failed to learn from North Korea’s violations of its ­nuclear deals. “We were America’s best friend in the Arab world for 50 years,” he said.

Now Saudi King Salman has abandoned Obama’s softly-softly approach to Syria by dir­ectly funding and arming the Sunni but non-Da’ish front that is advancing steadily in Syria’s north. Worse (or is it better?), the Saudi kingdom has hinted it will buy nuclear weapons from the Pakistanis.

Of course, Iran’s nuclear program is the focus of international concern. Tehran is negotiating only because international sanctions were crippling its economy. UN sanctions were placed on Iran only after several secret uranium enrichment sites were uncovered (not by inspectors but by a ­dissident group).

The ambitious US plan for Iran’s nuclear infrastructure is what Henry Kissinger calls defeat management.

Graham Allison from the Harvard Kennedy School elaborated in The Atlantic last month: “By eliminating 12,000 centri­fuges and five bombs’ worth of low-enriched uranium, the accord extends the breakout timeline for Iran to produce the highly ­enriched uranium core of a bomb to one year. By requiring the reconfiguration of Iran’s planned plutonium-producing reactor at Arak, the accord essentially closes this door to a bomb.”

Iran’s real leader, Khamenei, has just said: “We will never yield to pressure ... Iran will not give ­access to its (nuclear) scientists … We will not allow the privacy of our nuclear scientists or any other important issue to be violated.”

The Saudis, Turks, Qataris and Israelis, like the French socialist government and Democrats in the US Congress, sense increased Iranian power in the Middle East. Direct Saudi intervention in the region is a function of a perceived decrease of US influence in the Middle East. The Saudis trad­itionally have relied on the US to maintain regional stability.

But a series of US decisions — such as the prospective nuclear deal, military co-operation between US and Iranian ground forces in Iraq, allowing Assad in Syria to cross chemical weapons ‘‘red lines’’, and distancing itself from Israel and Egypt — has convinced Saudi Arabia, Turkey and even Qatar that the US is lessening its involvement in the region.

When Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop visited Iran last month, she was the first high-ranking Western minister to visit the Islamic Republic since the initialling of the Lausanne framework. The significance of Bishop’s visit is that it marks Iran’s continuing passage from pariah to ­accepted member of the inter­national community.

Western countries are hustling to be at the front of the queue when sanctions are officially dropped. Western diplomats (including Bishop) are lauding “a change in Iranian attitudes”, despite no evidence of that.

They’re also lauding Iran’s ­acceptance of nuclear understandings (despite revelations to the contrary) and responsible actions in the region, despite Iran ­actively undermining regional governments from Beirut to Baghdad and beyond, as well as prolonging Syria’s civil war.

This is short termism at its worst and ignores the Khamenei regime’s actual policies and ­nature.

A nuclear-armed Iran in 10 years, free of sanctions, with $180 billion of reserves now freed up and with unchanged policies of regional hegemony and support for terrorist proxies such as Hezbollah, is not in the interests of world peace, regional stability or even faraway Australia.

18 May 2015

Let's have more terrorism...

Some misguided Australians want to "recognise" another Arab state in the region, run by despots and terrorists.... on the highlands overlooking Tel Aviv, the Ben Gurion International airport and 8 million Israeli citizens....

17 May 2015

Carr-load of rubbish

From the Australian Jewish News, 30 April 2015, by EVAN ZLATKIS:

CLAIMS ...by former foreign minister Bob Carr that Opposition Leader Bill Shorten “commissioned” senior Labor frontbencher Tony Burke to move a motion at the party’s national conference in July to recognise a Palestinian state have been dismissed as “absolutely” and “utterly” untrue.

The AJN understands Burke is working with Labor foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek on a resolution resembling the one adopted at the NSW Labor conference last year, which stated that if no progress was made towards a two-state solution “and Israel continues to build and expand settlements, a future Labor government will consult like-minded nations towards recognition of the Palestinian state”.

...Carr was quoted in an article in the Fairfax press on Wednesday as saying: “Bill Shorten has moved on this, that’s why he has commissioned Tony Burke to move the motion at conference.”
...A spokesperson for Shorten, however, told The AJN on Wednesday the claims were false.
“The story is incorrect, the Leader of the Opposition’s position has not changed.”
Meanwhile, a senior figure within the ALP told The AJN the story was “absolutely” and “utterly” untrue and said that Shorten was furious with Carr.

Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein denounced the claims as “fabricated mischief-making, aimed at damaging the image of the ALP and its parliamentary leader”...