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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Tuesday, 20 December 2011
Moral clarity and hypocrisy on refugees - reply to GH
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: human rights

 

The Greens and the Left in effect believe people have the right to die trying to be free in Australia. And not persecuted when they succeed in their marathon trek.

The Right in effect, like Gerard Henderson today, and some others who should know better, prefer people die in silence in a theoretical queue in the country of persecution, or a living death in a hostile intermediate country, away from the Australian public eye - in equal or greater numbers.

These folks from the Right are the ones who read down say 650,000 deaths in the Iraq war, to "tens of thousands" or "over one hundred thousand" deaths in the news reports last week. Raw numbers of death of innocents is a very slippery concept for these types - like Henderson.

There is alot of talk about derisorily low numbers of boat people swamping the 13,500 annual refugee intake figure. But the treaty on status of refugees doesn't refer to arbitrary limits, it refers to "fear of persecution".

Fact is Australia is lazy. Henderson is lazy. The ALP and the Coalition are lazy.

And dishonest - boat people are a scapegoat for the 250-300,000 economic immigrants that apparently Australia has no trouble accomodating every year not least for cheap labour for big business. I don't remember Henderson, Morrison or George Pell for that matter saying we should hypothecate economic immigration to refugee lives? That is less of the former and more of the latter.

When they start talking about that we might start listening to the alleged moral analysis of the authority figures. Until then we will do our refugee duty in the legal sector.

 


Posted by editor at 7:27 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 21 December 2011 2:01 PM EADT
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
Hendo's sophisticated smear is lame re 200 nuke weapon Israel
Mood:  chatty
Topic: human rights

Gerard Henderson is pretty loose with the truth in a complex and tragic middle east situation that needs more light not lies.

Israel is no victim country with 100-200 nuke weapons. There is no 'destruction of Israel' by anyone, anytime, this side of the Rapture.

And Syria is a terrible dynamic with 1,500 deaths in the Arab Spring no doubt. But so is 1.5M Palestinians on starvation rations in Gaza for a decade or more. These are different issues and the sophistry of saying they are morally comparable is pretty dumb.

Another curious omission in GH's piece today in the SMH - apart from the long time omission of his corporate funding - is that the Max Brenner shop seems to be targetting by the International Solidarity Movement for supporting the Israeli Defence Force.

Also the issue of one state democracy and two state theocracy plus democracy is far more profound than the old 'anti semitism' smear. You can't call Desmond Tutu an anti-semite and get away with it, as a supporter of the BDS campaign.

Finally Henderson has failed to address the land theft aka 'settler' predators like assassin Yigal Amir. That would be far more intellectually honest.


Posted by editor at 10:57 AM NZT
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Apologists for assassin Yigal Amir win another one at Marrickville?
Mood:  not sure
Topic: human rights
I was talking
I was talking to myself
Somebody else
Talk, talk, talking
I couldn't hear a word
A word you said
He was my brother, brother
I said there was no other
Way out of here
Be my brother, brother
Gotta get out
Gotta get out

I was walking

I was walking into walls
I'm back again
I just keep walking
I walk into a window
To see myself
And my reflection
When I thought about it
My direction
Going nowhere
Going nowhere

No one, no one is blinder

Than he who will not see
No one, no one is blinder
Than me

I was talking

I was talking in my sleep
I can't stop talk, talk, talking
I'm talking to you
It's up to you

Be my brother, brother

There is another way out of here
In my brother, brother
Gotta get out
Gotta get out
Gotta get out of here

Posted by editor at 10:32 AM NZT
Monday, 29 March 2010
Is this an immigration scam via the plane load?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: human rights

Picture: Screenshot for www.rapidvisa.com.au

Perhaps Scott Morrison (Lib), Opposition Spokersperson on Immigration might be better served in terms of alleged illegal immigration numbers to look at this possibly unregistered business, either in the legal or immigration agency sector (?). One suspects this is a much bigger issue than humanitarian boat people asylum seekers.

How indeed can this service guarantee immigration to Australia at the price of $699? Are clients using  this service already cutting corners to jump the queue?

This business was commented on at  recent Community Reference Group meeting organised through the Law Society of NSW as an item of interest, and not just because of the cut price.

 


Posted by editor at 10:45 AM NZT
Thursday, 21 January 2010
White power sticker spotted in Melbourne CBD 11 Jan 2010
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: human rights


 

In our post 3 stories back we refer to a 7 day visit to Victoria, specifically Melbourne, to Warrnambool and back through Melbourne again home to Sydney. The purpose was a school reunion of the class of 1981.

On the swing back we wanted to make our own private pilgrimmage to the scene of a wicked murder of a brilliant classmate, lawyer, Brendan Keilar. Not knowing the area at all, reportedly corner of Flinders Lane (a significant street) and William St, we wandered around every block. After asking a parking officer, office workers, we finally found the plaque erected by the city that we had heard about.

But what we didn't mention in our report was finding a "White" power sticker about 10 cm x 6 cm. We tend to find these thing quite abhorent and decided to tear it off leaving a smear of glued paper. We could have taken a picture and we probably should have - for evidence for the authorities. But we didn't.

It seemed significant to us the sticker was in the vicinity of the infamous King St beer and skin joints, just adding to the menace, from where the thug who killed Brendan emerged after a night of drugs, 2 years ago.


Posted by editor at 9:40 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 21 January 2010 9:43 AM EADT
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Australian unions call for humanitarian approach to refugees
Mood:  bright
Topic: human rights


 

 


Posted by editor at 10:26 AM EADT
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Australian Prime Minister rejects, repeals* refugee treaty
Mood:  sharp
Topic: human rights

* pedants will say the treaty has not been 'repealed' as per this title and remains on foot, but that's meaningless where the treaty is effectively a dead letter regarding rights of asylum seekers. (For local readers think part 3A effective repeal of the 1979 Planning Act in NSW where the principal Act remains on the books but has no effect for big developers waved through by the NSW Govt.)


 

This front pager last Wednesday (6 days back) in the News Corp broadsheet says it all.

What is not being expressly commented on very much though is that Prime Minister Rudd, in the lead up to the huge equity issues at Copenhagen on climate, has effectively repudiated Australia's ratification of the refugee treaty we signed years ago. Indeed it was this same dishonest approach that helped see the back of former Prime Minister John Howard, the infamous deputy sheriff of George W Bush.

The Sydney ABC public broadcaster compere Deborah Cameron, previously stationed in Japan, and with the Sydney Morning Herald broadsheet captured a mood of dismay, saying yesterday of PM Rudd 'you can be strong and wrong' and 'Is he just a populist?'. Yes and yes.

A now famous phrase is often quoted in this policy area, namely John Howard PM in 2001 who famously bought full page adverts in the final week of the federal election stating something like 'We will decide who comes to Australia and the manner in which they come here'. All stirring nationalistic tub thump.

Only it's stupid. We already decided as a nation who we would accept and how they might come to be here by reference to their refugee status, when we ratified the Refugee Treaty: That is we will accept refugees however they arrive because we are a freedom loving human rights type country. It doesn't say we will take 'em by plane but not boat, or economic student overstayers yes, but darkies via Indonesia no.

So Howard then, and Rudd now are simply saying we want to selectively repeal the treaty we signed. To weasel out of our promise to the world. And alert people know this including within Rudd's own ALP. If PM Rudd and Howard before him were honest they would say we want to repeal the refugee treaty. But they know that will have global diplomatic consequences. Hence the weasel words.

A prominent unionist Paul Howes, normally associated with the same Govt Party of PM Rudd has noted the sleazy approach with this quote in the last 24 hours (even allowing for soap brand choreography, same factory) here Union wants welcome mat laid out for refugees at http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2009/s2718322.htm

:

MARK COLVIN: So far the Labor movement has been broadly uncritical of the Prime Minister's approach on the Sri Lankan asylum seekers.

But now the head of the Australian Workers' Union and vice president of the ACTU, Paul Howes, has broken ranks.

Mr Howes says the Government should put out the welcome mat to the asylum seekers now docked in west Java.

He's urged the Government to seize the moral high ground and ensure there's no return to the divisive debate of 2001.

At the same time the fate of another 78 asylum seekers rescued by the Australian Navy remains in limbo as the Australian and Indonesian Governments decide where they should be sent.

From Canberra, Alexandra Kirk reports.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Kevin Rudd runs a tight ship. But not everyone on the good ship Labor is happy with his stance on asylum seekers; more particularly the 250 Sri Lankans sent to Indonesia courtesy of the Indonesian Navy's interception.

That's ignited an immigration debate union leader Paul Howes doesn't like the look of.

PAUL HOWES: I mean the 2001 election was a real dark blight on our nation's history. You know, I would expect rhetoric and crass racism to come from the Coalition.

But I expect that Labor should and must take the moral high ground on this matter because this about social justice, this about upholding the rule of law, this about doing the right thing as a first world developed nation and it's about doing the right thing for our communities.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: And what in your view is doing the right thing?

PAUL HOWES: Well, bringing these people in.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Paul Howes heads the powerful Australian Workers' Union. He says Australia should roll out the red carpet and welcome the Sri Lankans with open arms.

He's urging the Labor Government take a leaf out of former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Fraser's book.

PAUL HOWES: In the same way that Malcolm Fraser did several decades ago in dealing with the boat people crisis after the fallout of the Vietnam War. There was much community resentment and opposition to Vietnamese refugees being brought into our country.

But now several decades later no-one could dispute the fact that it has been a positive thing for our nation, a positive thing for those individuals and the Vietnamese boat people of the '70s have made a lasting and incredibly valuable contribution to the development of our nation.

And we need to make sure that with future waves of migration that we don't make those same mistakes time and time and time again.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Government argues not allowing boatpeople to land on Australia's mainland deters people smugglers. Paul Howes sees it differently.

PAUL HOWES: Of course we don't want to see illegal syndicates profiting from the smuggling of people. I mean that is an abhorrent issue, but the fundamental point is is that what message is this sending to the Australian community about those individuals who are on the boats?

Not the men driving the boats but the individuals on the boats: those children, those women, those men fleeing circumstances of which most Australians couldn't even imagine.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Sri Lankan asylum seekers, who are docked in West Java, ended their hunger strike at the weekend, saying they'd agree to leave the boat if a representative from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees agreed to meet them.

It's the job of the UNHCR to assess asylum seekers' claims for refugee protection. PM asked the UNHCR in Canberra if any of their officers in Indonesia had spoken to the asylum seekers. The UNHCR says it's ready to register and asses the Sri Lankan's international protection needs if asked by the Indonesian Government. But the UN agency hasn't received such a request.

Immigration lawyer David Mann says that's the problem.

DAVID MANN: What's clear is that the Sri Lankans on the boat want to meet with the UN refugee agency so that they have a fair chance and a fair process to have their claims assessed against the refugee's convention.

And that hasn't happened yet, despite persistent requests.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: David Mann says all those involved should ensure the UNHCR is asked to act.

DAVID MANN: Well look, Australia simply can't wash its hands of this situation when it's having such a big say in relation to the fate of people who are warehoused in Indonesia and so significantly bankrolling the warehousing and processing of asylum seekers there and where Australia is really one of the only small amount of options for resettlement in the future.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Paul Howes says Australia shouldn't ship asylum seekers back to countries that aren't signatories to the UN refugee convention, such as Indonesia - urging Australia accept the 78 asylum seekers now aboard the Australian customs vessel, the Oceanic Viking.

The asylum seekers' boat got into difficulty in international waters off Indonesia. The patrol boat, HMAS Armidale, asked the Oceanic Viking to pick them up. And that's where they remain - in Indonesia's search and rescue zone, while the Federal Government decides where they should be sent.

PM's been told that sending them to Indonesia would set a precedent and could breach Australia's international obligations, all the government will say is it's not a straightforward matter.

MARK COLVIN: Alexandra Kirk.

 


Posted by editor at 8:00 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 October 2009 12:03 PM NZT
Thursday, 29 January 2009
Local coverage Gaza scandal: Israel free pass for war crimes, racist elements of IDF
Topic: human rights

 

The bigoted and criminal illegal squatter movement in Israel who no doubt exist within the Israel Defence Force are well reported here:

 

 

IDF soldier like this one possibly?

 


 

And this alleged war crime here:

 

 

This story immediately above was also well covered by the ABC TV prime time news last night 28th Jan 2009.

This great protest effort was hardly reported anywhere except the local suburban freebie:


 

We noticed the following story on New Matilda ezine by the insightful Antony Lowenstein here:

israel/palestine 28 Jan 2009 Gaza: Where To From Here?

http://business.smh.com.au/business/the-quiet-benefactor-lowys-close-tie…

How many noticed the Lowy Institute’s complete silence during the 22 day slaughter, including Hugh White former secretary of defence dept here in Australia. Bad form Hugh, reduced to an apologist by ommission in your recent piece in The Oz?

"Tell the US ‘No, we can’t’ | The Australian
23 Jan 2009"

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24949759-7583,00.html

Here is an important quote in The Oz referring to the new CIA director on fear given the 314 million population of Arabic countries proximate to Israel:

In "Beyond torture lies a great hope | The Australian
12 Jan 2009"

"Leon Panetta is well known to everyone who is anyone in Washington, DC. Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff is a huge player in Californian Democratic politics and was a congressman for many years. A centrist, his expertise is in managing bureaucracies and budgets, not intelligence. But he served on the 9/11 commission and knows his way around the federal labyrinth.

Getting solid intelligence to the president’s desk outside other pressures and departments is the key task for a CIA director. With the heavyweights Hillary Clinton at the State Department and Bob Gates at the Pentagon, a CIA officer promoted from within to run the agency would never have stood a chance. Panetta is a real political operator with great connections. Sometimes that matters more than being marinated in CIA culture for decades.

But Panetta’s core qualification at this particular moment was his public statements on the Bush-Cheney torture program. This is what Panetta wrote in The Washington Monthly last year: "How did we transform from champions of human dignity and individual rights into a nation of armchair torturers? One word: fear. Fear is blinding, hateful and vengeful. It makes the end justify the means. And why not? If torture can stop the next terrorist attack, the next suicide bomber, then what’s wrong with a little waterboarding or electric shock? The simple answer is the rule of law. Our Constitution defines the rules that guide our nation… "
…………………..

Who doubts Gaza is not being tortured with a seige right now motivated by fear?

Also who doubts the fascist extremists within the illegal squatter movement as per this:

"Settlers lash out at Palestinians after eviction | The Australian" Dec 6-7 2008
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24757350-15084,00.htm…

Noting too the implicit 30% support in Israel says Haaretz, for pardon of Yigal Amir assassin of Israeli Labour PM Yitzak Rabin?:

Yigal Amir’s thousands of sons
By Haaretz Editorial (6 July 2007)

http://new.haaretz.co.il/hasen/pages/ShArtStEngPE.jhtml?itemNo=920701&co…

and

02.11.2008 | 00:00 By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent
Settlers preparing for war, says Shin Bet chief

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1033535.html


Posted by editor at 4:20 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 29 January 2009 4:49 PM EADT
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Local coverage of Gaza scandal: 'It's not over', Barry Bullsh*t, 'pathetic' Israeli Right lobby
Topic: human rights

 

It's been a time of reflection over the death of our father early Friday 23rd January 2008. All the memories good and not so, his drinking, his religious faith, the 9 children's worth of chaos, our siblings. The truth is we've had 20 years to practise letting go as we learned more about the implications of his addiction. That also gripped his father before him, a conservative war correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald, confidant of famous PM Robert Menzies. But like every child it's a sad grieving time.

Which is all a way of noting how our personal emotional journey possibly echoes the millions of diaspora Jewry on their own personal journey on this 64th day of the Holocaust memorial (says Fran Kelly back on ABC RN). Grieving dead children, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers. 72 million died in the 2nd World War. Reportedly 6 million were Jewish deliberately targeted for racist reasons. An evil slaughter on historical scale.

It's no different for the Palestinian Arabs today grieving their dead children, mothers, fathers, brothers. Just as it's no different for the Irish diaspora with a degree of race memory of the million dead in the human created Irish 'famine' of mid 19C. George Mitchell appointed by US President Barack Obama as Middle East Envoy will know that story well.

This kind of grieving is not particularly reasonable or rational. Indeed it calls up all kinds of paranoia and neurosis. We saw an example of this with former ALP federal MP Barry Cohen's loyal special pleading for Israel in The Australian yesterday: He actually asserted that starving 1.5 million people suffering collective punishment was because UN sanctioned "food" supplies were used to make "rockets". That's right - bread makes rockets. As if. This kind of irrationality can't be argued with. Cohen makes the same false premise as Colin Rubenstein and other loyal friends of Israel, either as dupes or propagandists: This graph from Israelpolitik.com proves without any decent doubt Hamas suspended all rockets and mortars, in July, August, Sept, October 2008 and notice even here the attempt to hide the successful 4 months amongst the phase in and last 2 months after an Israeli air strike on 4th November 2008:

 http://www.israelpolitik.org/2009/01/07/how-did-the-cease-fire-end/ :

...............................................start of extract

........................................................

In a sleazy game of statistics the Israel lobby hide the effective 4 month lull burying it in 8 years of statistics and annual figures, not to mention the Israeli airstrike killing 6 on 4th November 2008 as reported by The Guardian in the UK:

Gaza truce broken as Israeli raid kills six Hamas gunmen | World ... 5 Nov 2008

That's pathetic and deliberately deceptive. It hides the truth of Israel's crippling food blockade for ruthless military purposes.

To quote Mark Regev to RN's Cannane speaking recently for pretend/disposable allegedly corrupt PM Olmert  'the economic sanctions' continued to prevent rocket attacks. There it is again. Bread used in the making of rockets. Milk too. Baby formula. Apples and Oranges perhaps? Toothpaste? Perhaps flour is the secret ingredient of the metal casings?

Cohen also airbrushes the brutal fatal impact of a starvation blockade killing the vulnerable, sick and weak in the 1.5 million population of Gaza. That's real 1st world cruelty on the 3rd and disgrace on the Israel lobby. They comfort themselves that Eqypt should allow access on their border, but that's a Greater Israel gambit, and they know it. Once Eqypt makes the border wide open Palestine effectively loses Gaza as part of the 2 state solution. Indeed Israel's active apartheid laws and house destruction programme in Palestine are a long term agenda for colonial expansion, and they know it. But will never admit it in the western press including Australia.

True some splinter groups sent some ineffective fire crackers with evil intent for mass murder over the same 4 month lull, almost certainly not authorised by the elected Hamas Govt quite well known for saying openly where they stand. Cohen rolls out all the usual postures about Israel's existential risk but his selectivity is grotesque. What about Palestinian existential risk? The 30% of Israelis, according to Haaretz, support Yigal Amir killer of Labour PM Yitzak Rabin who wanted to recognise Palestinian land rights? That's 30% of Israelis who are arguably racist, certainly predators, seeking to expel Palestinians. And these extremists hold hostage majority coalition politics in the Feb 2009 general election in Israel.

Cohen also neatly ignores one Koutsoukis report from the Gaza scandal last Wednesday of alleged war crime mass murders and racist graffiti by IDF, while targeting another piece by the same journo last Monday about blocking UN food supplies. Reports now too of racists within IDF shooting murder of two little Arab girls under a white flag:

Only a diaspora dupe or a propagandist ignores the very real racist underbelly in Israeli society: Just as we in Australia were forced to expose the dog whistling of John Howard and Pauline Hanson as political leaders here. Only in the Middle East the racists are armed and dangerous members of the IDF in Gaza supporting the 500,000 illegal militant squatter (not 'settler') movement and evil nutters like Yigal Amir.

We received yesterday a carefully crafted piece of email propaganda from a lefty written in Spanish for the Palestinian cause which carries with it - like all effective PR - a degree of truth. It is fair to observe Gaza as a symptom of a national 'holocaust loop' for neurotic, paranoid Isrealis. Or as some cynics might also say - a real sensitivity vulnerable to ruthless exploitation by hawkish Israeli and US politicians. On the other hand such graphics are double edged - as emotional violence on the still grieving older generations of Israelis and Jewish diaspora - which ironically just feeds the intensity of the loop and the suffering of victims of the IDF in Gaza or the West Bank. Of victims becoming perpetrators (like 'conventional' child abuse).

The broader political significance including here in Sydney Australia is that via the web this comparison of Germany 1945, and Gaza 2008/9 is being made in the general public. It's not entirely true, but it's not entirely false either. There are 4.5 million Palestinian refugees and great anger about their treatment in the Middle East. Also world wide.

Nor can Koutsoukis or the SMH be dismissed as biased. They ran an important story about Hamas fighters seeking to hijack neutral ambulances. A real balancer to the story about racist IDF murdering familes and children. The overall fact remains the pathetic Israelis Right and their apologists here are running a concentration camp in Gaza and responsible for the civilian body count.  This quality coverage is supplemented by excellent interview with Bob Baer ex CIA, adviser on the Syriana George Clooney movie, with Steve Cannane on ABC RN last Friday - stating Iranian Ahmadinejad is in effect irrelevant and doesn't control the military in Iran.

No wonder we felt the need to re watch the Richard Attenborough film of Gandhi's life winner of 8 Academy Awards: Alas only to get half way through the 3 hour epic late last night. It actually has an intermission just after "the horrific massacre at Armistar, where British opened fire on 15,000 unarmed men, women and children" meeting to discuss a campaign of freedom from colonial occupation. The second half will be Gandhi's genius in resolving the British violence to achieve independence for then 350 million people. Nor was he passive. As secular Jew Naomi Klein argues a similar kind of peaceful confrontation and boycott of the international financial and political structures giving a free pass to Israel's IDF bullying of the Palestinians is probably the way forward.

We have written before of the various phases in the PR here of the expansionist Israeli Right lobby both government and allied groups:  We can expand this list as follows from our extensive media consumption:

1. roll out the Holocaust tragedy historical greivance tub thump as a western guilt trip to encourage self censorship of criticism of Israel's slaughter of women and children in Gaza. Effective tactic in the past because the Holocaust tragedy was and is real. The tactic is losing it's bite as the internet reveals the true ruthless power, and elements of racist, IDF military machine;

2. roll out the anti semitism historical grievance tub thump as a variant on point 1, again to encourage sympathy and self censorship. An effective tactic to the extent critics of Israel do fall prone to gross generalisations and lose perspective;

3. more recently it's been a smear on Arabs generally with old, extremist views of isolated religious types here in Australia or other cultural disjunctions. All designed to indirectly dehumanise or divert attention from the 5000 plus killed and injured in Gaza. This is an ugly corrosion of Australia's wonderful multicultural society. Just as it is wrong to treat Jewish society as a generality, so too it is wrong to stereotype Arabs.

On the weekend we had a surreal moment at Bondi where the water and the weather under a whispy cloud cover was almost perfect. The Stones song from The Departed  'Gimme shelter' boomed out from what used to be called The Swiss Grand. A germanic monstrosity on the Campbell Pde Beachfront. So emblematic. Earlier that day we read about two Rabbis in a violent feud here in Sydney.

Earlier we passed the presser by Police Minister Tony Kelly to a throng of Big Media about the Tuno II mass murder inquiry front of Surrey Hills police bunker. A perfect promo for the Underbelly 2 tv series in 09 here. A day earlier we threw a verbal prod to the star of Underbelly 1 08 looking fit along the lines "so fame hasn't crushed you yet?'. He looked sheepish about the power of the Tube. Emblematic too of South African Jewry fleeing to Sydney's East to avoid the violence over pre Mandela ANC and even afterward, including Waverley Mayor Sally Betts we chatted to on the promenade a week back.

We had spent 2 hours doing our legal tutoring for disabled colleague Carol, a secular local of Hungarian Jewish background whose now dead father was a survivor, Phd in Philosophy, qualified rabbi and rich real estate businessman. A few days earlier we cycled over to repair the bicycle of our buddy Steve another local secular Australian Jew and lefty, same building as the actor. We also chatted to Marc on the sun glasses stall, a trained actuary too, annoyed about the "racist" media coverage against Israel he had noticed: Perhaps not realising the overall pattern actually in favour or silent as the slaughter proceeded over 22 days. All had left and right wing views, hardly monolithic, and thank heavens for our peaceful democracy in that respect.

And of course emblematic of our own bereavement, all in some kind of strangely soothing, intoxicating and potentially dangerous admixture suggesting: Enjoy the art and stay out of the rip.


Posted by editor at 7:04 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 29 January 2009 3:09 PM EADT
Friday, 23 January 2009
Sydney supporters of oppressed Gazans launch into press with powerful advert
Topic: human rights

The VIP endorsements on this advert below running yesterday indicate one clear truth: The world demands that the Israeli cat release the Gaza (and Palestinian) live mouse from it's military claws including outrageous blockade on UN supplies:

The game is up for the PR spin of the Friends of Israel as far as the double game of saying to domestic audiences in the West we have to protect our security and on the other appeasing the influential illegal, militant squatter movement and 30% who are polling in Israel supporting a pardon for Israeli Jewish Yigal Amir assassin of Labour PM Yitzak Rabin. The racism of elements of the IDF against Arabs was reported here 2 days ago.

Increasingly this reality is also cruelling Hilary Clinton's credentials as Secretary of State over in the USA. Her confirmation has been stalled. We noted here recently her nonesense about selectively blaming Hamas violence while literally 1.5 million Gazans are crushed under the heel of a ruthless food and humanitarian aid blockade.

Just like the disciplined Christian Jesuits it seems to escape the thinking of loyal Israel supporters here or the USA that when a people are desperate and defeated the last to maintain any organisation and capacity are the religiously dogmatic. It's a symptom of oppression. As an ABC journalist noted yesterday Gaza in 300 metres is stepping from 1st world Israel to 3rd world Palestine. And after the IDF demolitions it's even worse.

A good summary of both Clinton and the overall situation was provided by Dr Hanan Ashrawi on ABC Radio National yesterday. This is a good contrast with the tendentious and flawed opinion piece by one Albert Dadon, founder, chairman of the "Australia Israel Cultural Exchange", and the ironically titled piece by academic Niv Horesh back on 9 January 2009. Amazing it is how Hamas compliance for 4 months with a ceasefire truce is constantly hidden amongst broad statistics as if to prove black is white, that it never happened.

This is intolerable. Yes there are many terrible abuses on human rights underway in other parts (refugees towed out to sea by Thailand to die a terrible death) but Australians are generally aware of substantial support to Israeli institutions with Australian money and political solidarity. We are very connected culturally and politically here in Sydney. This is a conflict that strong democratic analysis here can play a genuine role. As Gandhi said - knowing your arguments well helps avoid violence.


Posted by editor at 6:22 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 23 January 2009 8:57 AM EADT

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