February 2009 No 430
Happy 60th birthday, Israel: well done for surviving
The Spectator, 30 April 2008
Melanie Phillips says that the prosperity and growing cultural confidence of Israel is a fitting riposte to the Western intelligentsia, American meddling and the daily propaganda assault that ignores the Islamisation of the Palestinians.
What would Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion have said if, on the day that he declared the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, he had known that six decades thence Israel would be encircled by its enemies, hopelessly outnumbered and fighting for its existence? He would surely have said: so what’s new?
Next week, on 8 May, Israel celebrates the 60th anniversary of that declaration. With every decade that it clocks up, people ask the same question: will Israel still be there for the next one? It is indeed astonishing that it has not only survived but is flourishing. Its situation as a permanently embattled nation is unique. On the day after Ben-Gurion declared its independence, six Arab armies invaded and tried to wipe it out. With the current exception of Egypt and Jordan, the Arab and Muslim world has been trying ever since.
Israel is the only country whose creation was approved by the UN; yet it is the only country whose legitimacy is called into question. It is the only country which the world requires to compromise with its Palestinian Arab attackers and accede to their demands, even while they are firing rockets at its schools and houses and blowing up its citizens. It is the only country which continues to provide electricity and basic services to those attackers and routinely treats thousands of Palestinians in its own hospitals, even those who have Israeli blood on their hands. And yet it is the only country which, in the court of public opinion, is condemned for behaving ‘disproportionately’ when it uses targeted military means to defend itself, and is accused of causing the very ‘Nazi’ or ‘apartheid’ atrocities of which it itself is the victim.
At present, the situation looks particularly ominous. Israel is menaced on several fronts by Iran which, racing to develop a nuclear weapon, is threatening a new genocide of the Jews while denying the last one. In Lebanon Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Iranian-sponsored army Hezbollah, which is once again armed with thousands of rockets, says the next attack on Israel is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’. Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 Iranian-backed Hamas, which is pledged to wipe out Israel and every Jew, has built a well-trained standing army of at least 20,000 men and a huge arsenal of weapons smuggled in from Egypt, and relentlessly attacks Israel with rockets and bombs.
It is widely expected that, once Independence Day is over and President Bush has returned home from his celebratory visit, Israel will finally mount a major incursion into Gaza to deal with Hamas. If it does, Western opinion, which largely ignores Israeli victimisation, can be guaranteed to cry ‘atrocity’ once again. And just as before, Hamas will deliberately place women and children in the line of fire to maximise civilian casualties in order further to inflame that opinion.
For Israel finds itself trapped by a pincer movement of military and psychological attack from not only the Arab and Muslim world but also the West. And Britain, whose intelligentsia has swallowed wholesale Arab and Muslim lies, is the Western leader of those baying for Israel’s head. Thanks to the poison spread by the British media, the universities, NGOs and the churches, Israel has been systematically demonised and delegitimised.
Few are aware, for example, how both Hamas and Hezbollah deliberately position both terrorists and weaponry in densely populated civilian areas, using women and children as human shields. While British headlines scream at Israel for causing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, few are aware that Hamas has been stealing fuel supplies intended for Gaza’s population and blowing up the crossing points to provoke Israel into closing them, to escalate the conflict and inflame the world. Even fewer are aware that many of the most inflammatory images from the region are fabricated, since both Hamas and Hezbollah routinely stage ‘atrocities’ or artificially exaggerate incidents using doctored footage — courtesy of British journalists who are threatened with murder or kidnap if they fail to toe the line.
More fundamentally, the obsessional demonisation of Israel is based on a false set of beliefs taken straight from Arab propaganda — that as a result of Holocaust guilt, Israel was created when a load of European Jews with no claim to the land were dumped on Palestine, driving out its rightful Arab Muslim inhabitants.
Ben-Gurion would today be surprised to find, for example, that Israel is regarded as illegally occupying the West Bank (and until 2005, Gaza). Along with modern Israel, this was part of the territory of Palestine within which in 1922 the League of Nations gave Britain the task of re-establishing the Jewish national home because of the unique claim by the Jews — the only people for whom it had ever been their nation state, hundreds of years before the Arabs invaded it. In other words, far from being ‘Palestinian land’, the Jews are entitled to claim it under international law, which also gives it the right to hold on to it in self-defence. Yet ‘progressive’ opinion not only denies both law and history but demands (as do the Palestinians) the ethnic cleansing of every last Jewish settler from a putative Palestinian state (just as half Israel’s population was created by Jews driven out of their ancient homes in Arab lands). So much for anti-racism.
The denial and inversion of such facts has singled out Israel for vilification applied to no other country. Scapegoated for crimes of which it is in fact the victim, Israel has become the Jew of the Western world. This is a victory for the Arabs in the new type of war in which they are engaged. Asymmetric warfare, whose principal battlefield is the mind, uses ostensibly powerless people (the Palestinians) who are in fact backed by powerful state actors (Iran). Such an inversion of strong and weak and the systematic use of deception are vital to the principal strategic goal of asymmetric warfare: to confuse and demoralise its victims and suborn world opinion to its cause. Even Israel itself has weakened under this. For it has an intelligentsia which is no longer confident of the nation’s right to its own Jewish identity. This has created a dangerous vacuum. In Israeli universities, revisionist historians have told corrosive lies about their country’s history, portraying it as having been born in sin. In the schools, children have not been taught Jewish history and parrot Arab disinformation instead.
The country’s sense of national purpose has been further weakened by the 2006 Lebanon war, which punctured public belief in Israel’s military invincibility, and by the ongoing crisis of political leadership caused by a political system which is endemically corrupt and excludes the brightest and the best from public office.
The result of all this is that at present, both the Israeli Left and Right are consumed by a morbid despair. The Left thinks Israel is doomed to war in perpetuity because there is no prospect of a Palestinian state — which it remains convinced is the prerequisite for peace, despite this being contrary to all history, evidence and logic. The Right, on the other hand, thinks that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is Israel’s Chamberlain, about to declare peace in our time by giving away half of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and thus delivering Israel to the wolves of Arab annihilation. But both are surely missing the bigger picture.
First, despite entering its seventh decade of living under existential siege, Israel is prospering. Its economy is booming, it leads the world in high-tech, and property prices in Tel Aviv rival those in London. Second, having stared over the edge of the cultural abyss it has started to realise the danger. It is beginning to turn education round, with a new awareness dawning among high school principals of the need to teach Jewish history, identity and values. And although unprecedented numbers of mainly secular Israelis now choose to live abroad, there are rapidly growing numbers of the religiously orthodox who know exactly what they are fighting for and are prepared to die for it — as do the majority of middle-of-the-road Israeli citizens.
The same, however, can’t be said of the Palestinian Arabs, who are simply falling apart. The rise of Hamas, the progressive Islamisation and terrorisation of Palestinian society and the continued corruption and factional fighting within Fatah are all taking their toll. Increasingly, Palestinians are packing up and leaving. It is they rather than the Israelis who are in despair. Their sense of national identity — always artificial — now lies finally shattered by the death cult that acts in their name. After all, with even supposedly secular Fatah being steadily Islamised, why on earth would any Palestinian in his right mind want to live in a repressive Islamic republic — which Palestine would without doubt become — where dissidents are thrown from the tops of tall buildings?
And here lies the paradox which offers the best hope for Israel’s future. For the very Islamism which so menaces it might finally unlock the door to peace. This is because both Islamism and Iran threaten not just Israel but the ‘moderate’ Arab world too. Accordingly, the last thing those Arabs want is an Iranian-backed, Islamised state of Palestine. Egypt and Jordan simply cannot afford to have Iran or the Muslim Brotherhood on their doorsteps in a Hamas-dominated Gaza or West Bank. Currently, they rely on Israel to prevent it. But increasingly, talk of some kind of Jordan–Egypt–Palestinian confederation is in the air.
As the analyst Jonathan Spyer has noted, Jordan’s recent decision to connect Jericho to the Jordanian electricity grid is an example of its increasing involvement in the West Bank. And behind the scenes, the more realistic Palestinians have grasped that their best chance of having any future at all lies in just such a confederation. Such an outcome would have history on its side. Some readers may feel the need to lie down after reading the rest of this sentence, but Jordan is historically the state of Arab Palestine. This was the original two-state ‘solution’ back in 1921, when Winston Churchill unilaterally gave away three quarters of the original territory of Palestine to the Hashemite dynasty, creating what is now Jordan, with the remainder supposed to go to the Jews.
But this chance of an end to the dispute is currently being undermined by the self-serving meddling of America which, like Europe, falsely casts the Arab war against Israel as a boundary dispute between Israel and the Palestinians and is trying to force the agreed outline of a Palestinian state by the time President Bush leaves office.
It is even pressuring Israel to accept Hamas’s ‘truce’ — by which Hamas means a period when Israel doesn’t attack it so it can equip itself for war undisturbed — so that on his visit to Israel next week Bush can pretend that Middle East peace in our time is imminent. But this is a virtual reality peace process, since even the ‘moderate’ Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas has said in terms that he will never recognise Israel as a Jewish state. So what’s to discuss?
Despite its sham nature, however, this appeasement process has had two baleful consequences. It has caused Olmert, under pressure from the Americans, the Israeli media and powerful Israeli oligarchs who want the economic advantages of peace at any price, to destroy checkpoints, release prisoners and float the possibility of territorial concessions — all of which promote and incite further Arab violence. And it has caused Jordan to put its own confederation idea on ice. Thus meddling America is destroying the best option for the Middle East to resolve its core dispute — that it is left to sort it out by itself.
Indeed, much of the responsibility for these six decades of conflict lie with a Western world which, from 1921 onwards, has chosen to appease Arab violence while shedding crocodile tears over its Jewish victims. But the future of Israel is the future of the West. If the front line in Israel were to go down, the West would be next. Given its current internal appeasement of Islamism, however, the West may go down anyway. At least Israel knows it has to fight to survive. As a result, in 60 years’ time it will still be there. Can the same be said for Britain or Europe?
Melanie Phillips Is A Daily Mail Columnist.
Melanie Phillips’ History is Bunk
David Brockschmidt responds to her celebrating Israel’s 60th Birthday
Sorry, Melanie, as you know Henry Ford said history is bunk. In general this is not the case but in your essay Henry Ford’s remarks regarding history is well justified.
Let me point out what I find wrong with your version of Israel’s history.
1. What Ben Gurion would have said in 1948 is speculation but the world knows what he said in regard to the Palestinians and the long-term survival of Israel. Let me refresh your fading memory here and read a quote from Israeli historian, Illan Pappes’ book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Here Pappe quotes from Ben Gurion’s diary in which he stated regarding how to deal with the Palestinians: “We need to harm them without mercy, women and children included”. What Ben Gurion meant in harming them is crystal clear. It is the terror and mass murder of Deir Jassein in Palestine, which was the forerunner of Mi Lai in Vietnam. This model of Zionist genocide in Palestine in order to make Palestine ‘Araberrein – ethnic cleansing of Arabs’. Of course there were many Deir Jassein in Palestine as there were many Mi Lais in Vietnam.
2. You talk about Israel’s justified “military means” to defend itself. Do you here refer to the destruction of Lebanon? Or do you refer to the response against hand-made Hamass rockets and stones thrown by Palestinian civilians against Israeli helicopter gunships, figher jets, tanks and all modern military gear used against Palestinian insurgents and civilians? This includes plain murder execution style of small Palestinian children by Israel’s ‘soldateska’! Is that what you call the right to defend yourself?
3. While you live in multi-cultural and multi-racial Great Britain, you are accusing the Arab world and Palestinians of ‘apartheid atrrocities against Jews’, and at the same time you defend the ethnocentric racist policies of Zionism. This is turning history on its head. The world knows by now it is exactly the other way around. Your version of history is a real non-brainer for the strong in the heart and the weak in the head.
4. You carry on in your article talking about the ‘obsessional demonisation of Israel’, by whom? You deliberately mix-up Arab propaganda with Holocaust guilt and Jewish European immigration to Palestine. Everyone knows that European Jewish immigration to Palestine did not start in the 1930s and 1940s but long before the start of World War One in the 1890s. May I also remind you of the Zionist-Nazi collaboration regarding Zionist European immigration from germany and all over Europe as laid down in the Ha’avara Agreement between National Socialist Germany and Zionist organisations in Germany, the rest of Europe and Palestine.
5. Your version of Palestinian-Israeli history reads like from a history book used by the North Koreans to explain the conflict between North and South Korea. Your version makes the Palestinians,who lived in Palestine for more than 3,000 years working and cultivating the land, homeless. Remember, before the famous Israeli Jaffa oranges hit the world market Palestinian citrus orchids were in full blossom through Palestinian work. Palestine at that time was the largest citrus exporter in the world. So Golda Meir’s comment that there are no Palestinian people and Palestine is a land without people for a people (Jewish) without land, is of course a big fat historical lie. To create facts on the ground by stealing land and committing genocide against the original inhabitants is justified with reference to the Old Testament that the Hebrew God promised the Israeli desert tribes the land of Canaan is another chutzpa. Moses’ order to go into the land of Canaan, to kill all the living beings and taking over the promised land is not a divine order but simple sanctified genocide. You would probably call it the pain of nation building. You are fully aware that Ashkenazi European Jews have no ethnic or racial links to the ancient Hebrew Israelites at all. To tell the world that the Jews of today are the chosen people of the tribal Hebrew God Elohim is the biggest lie the world has ever heard. Blaming the Palestinians for ethnically cleansing Jews from Palestinian lands is another non-brainer, Melanie. You know very well that ethnic cleansing of Palestinians was and still is carried out until this very day by the Zionists who rule the state of Israel.
6. What right do the Zionists have to confiscate Palestinian land throughout the last 100 years in Palestine? Is this right of ethnic cleansing a God-given right because Moses said so? You also know that the dispossession of Palestinian lands, stolen by the Zionists, caused the dispossession of the land belonging to Sephardic Jews in other Arabic lands in 1948. The Sephardic-oriental Jews are the real Jews and Semites, like the Arabs are semites. Ashkenazi European Jews are not semites because they are the descendants of the Khazars who were ruled by King Bulan in the 9th Century, and archeologists have just dug up the capital of the Jewish Khazar kingdom. If you don’t know your own historical roots, then please read Arthur Koestler’s The Thirteenth Tribe.
7. Attacking Israel’s revisionist historians, like Illan Pappe and Ze-ev Herzog, for example, by accusing them they are teaching
‘corrosive lies’ about Israel’s history, is another cheap attempt of yours to suppress historical truth. You continue to tell your readers that in Israel’s schools they don’t teach Jewish history anymore but they parrot ‘Arab disinformation’. The truth of the matter here is that israel’s education programs are desperately trying to get closer to the terrible truth of the history of Zionism. The real historial truth about the ancient Israelites, according to Ze-ev Herzog and other Israeli archeologists is that the ancient Hebrew tribes were never in Egypt. Indeed, the Hebrews were in the Babylonian exile under Nebuchadnezzar and they brought home one of the most vitriolic legends that became the moral guide-line of the Judaism, namely the Babylonian Talmud. This work is full of anti-Gentilic hate, which is hard to swallow by any sane person, Jew or Gentile alike. Here are a few examples from this ‘Holy Book’: “Only Jews are humans, Gentiles are animals in human form”. Jesus is called Ilam – the Evil One, the fool, and the seducer and destroyer of Israel. He sits in hell, boiling in hot excrement while Christians are boiling in Hell in hot semen. Mother Mary is a whore and Christians are unclean and compared with swine and dogs. To top it off Mammonides, the great Jewish philosopher, tells the world: “Tob shebbe Goim harog – the best of the Christians should be killed.” Where there is anti-Gentilism, Melanie, there is anti-Semitism. History teaches us there is always cause and effect. Start reading your Babylonian Talmud, and may I also recommend Professor Peter Schaefer’s book, Jesus in the Talmud. Start asking the why-question, Melanie, if you really want to know. If you want to bridge the gap between religions, tell your Rabbis to remove the anti-Gentilic hate from your Holy Books. Then demand that they give a guarantee to the world that this vitriolic poison and hate will not be taught anymore in Jewish schools world-wide, including in Israel. Let’s ensure that the word ‘Shalom’ and as ‘Salam’ has a true meanign for us Gentiles too, thereby helping to create the brotherhood of humanity.
8. Have you asked yourself this question: Was the State of Israel born in sin? My answer is, of course it was, like so many other countries, including the one you live in, the United Kingdom. The pain of nation building always includes ethnic cleansing – and this point has to be addressed and not swept under the carpet of history.
I agree with you that the Israeli leadership is corrupt but so is the leadership in the rest of the world, not only in the Middle East. The Socratic and Aristotelian mindset are dead, Orwell and Huxley rule supreme. In your celebration you paint a picture of a booming Israeli economy. Everyone knows that without money, mainly from the US and Germany, Israel would be floating like a dead fish in the water, just like Cuba today since the fall of the Soviet Union, which financed their satellite in front of Uncle Sam’s doorsteps.
You correctly state that a lot of Israelis and Palestinians are packing up and leaving the madness of the Middle East. Well, Mazaltov and Good Luck to them. If there are only religious and fundamentalist Jews and Muslims left in Israel-Palestine, they may wipe each other out like the Sunis and Shias today in Iraq. That may solve the Middle East dilemma without any outside intervention. The tribal wars are a kind of population control in many parts of the world. Nature always gains the upper hand over human insanity and religious madness.
You ask the question why on earth would a Palestinian in his right mind want to live in a repressive Islamic republic, “where dissidents are thrown from the tops of tall buildings”? Here I agree with you, Melanie – why would they. But the same would apply to a Jewish Orthodox state of Israel for Jews only, run by a bunch of Rabbis from Mea Sharim in Jerusalem, the City which produces nothing else but holy madness.
In regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict it seems Melanie Phillips has the answer to solving this conflict. She says: “Churchill gave 75% of Palestinian land away”, which as you say turned into the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, “the historic state of Arab Palestine”. What right did Churchill have to give away this land in 1921, which did not belong to him, according to international law, regardless of whether Great Britain ruled this part of the world as a part of its colonial empire or later, under UN mandate. Churchill and his government made this land-grab, which disposessed Palestians already then, and not only after 1948, when the state of Israel was founded, financed by the House of Rothschild. This dispossession fo Palestinians was based and justified on the corrupt policies of Imperial Britain and Imperial Germany – both colaborating and co-operating to rob the Palestinians of their resources, their livelihood and their homeland.
The results of these corrupt policies we see today in the increase of suicide bombings from Baghdad to London. It has turned the Muslim world, which was once a friend and admirer of the west into a deadly enemy.
The logical consequence following your thinking is that all Palestinians – Muslims, Christians, and others – be transferred to Jordan so Israel can annex the West Bank and Gaza – the beginnings of Erez Israel! Ariel Sharon had the same silly idea. But you forgot one thing, Melanie, the capital city of Arab Palestine is not Amman but Al-Quds/Jerusalem. Capito?
To round it up, Melanie is playing the prophet for us saying Israel will still be there in sixty years. This reminds me of the East german leader, Erich Honnecker, who said in his last speech in 1989, celebrating the 40th Birthday of the German Democratic Republik, “The GDR and its border fortification – the wall – will still be there in a hundred years”. One year later both the wall and the GDR were history.
Great Britain, Europe and the city of London where you now live, Melanie, will still be there in 60 years, without a doubt. That’s why you live in London, not in Jerusalem, right?
Last but not least, Melanie, accusing us Goyim of having a “false set of beliefs”, taken straight from Arab propaganda and linking it with Holocaust guilt is another non-brainer. Remember what Jonathan Sachs, the chief Rabbi of the UK, said: “There is no business like Shoah business”. May I also quote Professor Norman Finkelstein, who called the Shoah business a criminal enterprise in his world-famous book, The Holocaust industry.
I rest my case and with baited breath await your response.
9 January 2009
Some relevant letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor, Guardian Weekly, March 23-29, 2007, Floyd Rudmin, Tromso, Norway.
Your review of Illan Pappe’s history, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, continues the cleansing. Pappe shows that the destruction of Palestinian communities was planned prior to the Holocaust and cannot be historically and morally justified by the Holocaust.
Peaceful and generally defenceless Palestinian communities were systematically targeted for terroism, purged of people, then physically erazed from the face of the earth. Pappe quotes Ben Gurion’s diary, “We need to harm them without mercy, women and children included”.
Pappe has not ‘airbrushed’ the Holocaust from the story and those done a disservice, as you say, he has documented the historical reality of the pre-meditated destruction of a people. Pappe also shows the role of the British in training the Hagana in the 1930s: for example, ‘How to use bayonets in attacking defenceless villages’. Britain had 100,000 troops in Palestine and was legally obligated to protect the Palestinians. But it did not. For example, on February 14, 1948, Hagana forces entered Sa’sar unopposed at midnight, attached TNT to 35 houses and blasted the village into the air, killing 60 to 80 Palestinans in their sleep, including children. Two of the Jewish terrorists were hurt by flying debris; the british army was commended for transporting them to the Safad hospital. The Palestinians fled Sa’sar in terror and that became a model operating of ethnic cleansing.
Denial of the Holocaust is a crime in many nations, as is denial of the Armenian genocide in some nations. Nations now need to make the Nakba denial a crime.
The Sunday Age, December 7 2003
Narendra Mohan Kommalapati, Chelmsford, England
Let us not forget that Zionists toyed with the idea of colonising Argentina and considered the British offer of Uganda before settling on Palestine; Tivadar Herzl and his followers collaborated, in turn with Imperial Russia, Turkey, Nazi Germany
– Eichmann was their contact, and then the British Rai in colonising Palestine; or that Vladimir Jabotinsky, and his followers, who formed the Irgun and the Stern gang, carried out acts of terrorism, from the King David Hotel explosions to the murder of UN observer Count Folke Bernadotte to the Deir Yassein massacre. Zionism – whatever its formal meaning – has come to represent the last relic of colonialist racism and ethnic cleansing to realize the goal of a Greater Israel.
Israel’s refusal on borders
The Australian Financial Review, 25 June 2008
Michael Shaik, Australian for Palestine, Hawthorn, Vic.
Vic Alhadeff, of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies is incorrect when he claims that the Arabs’ world refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist lies at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian problem – Letters, June 20.
In 2002 the Arab League unanimously offered full normalisation of relations and comprehensive peace agreements with Israel if it would withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories and return to its recognised borders. Last year the League repeated the offer.
On both occasions Israel ignored the offcer and pressed ahead with its program of expanding Jewish settlements throughout the West Bank and Palestinian East Jerusalem. In March the Israeli housing ministry acknowledged it was using the priod of calm that followed the Annapolis Peace Conference to accelerate the expansion of Jewish settlements in and around East Jerusalem.
In his book: Palestine, Peace not Apartheid, former US President Jimmy Carter wrote: “The bottom line is this: Peace will come to Israel and the Middle East only when the Israeli government is willing to comply with international law, with a roadmap to peace, with official American policy, with the wishes of the majority of its own citizens – and honour its own previous commitments by accepting legal borders”. It is Israel’s refusal to do so, not Arab intransigence, that lies at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Little or no time for Palestinians in Parliament
Alan Ramsey, Sydney Morning Herald, May 17, 2008
Whatever you think of the Rudd Government's first budget, know that the Labor Party's national secretary, Tim Gartrell, is a happy man. Gartrell is the bloke who has to find the money to fund Labor's election campaigns. As such, Gartrell turned budget night into a nice little earner, thank you. Labor took over the Great Hall of the Parliament, closed it to the general public for the night, and charged $2000 a ticket for a seat at a dinner table (for 10) hosted by a minister or parliamentary secretary, and $500 for a seat at a dinner table hosted by a Labor backbencher.
The Great Hall's sit-down capacity is 750. The Government's executive capacity is 42 ministers and parliamentary secretaries. At $18,000 for 42 "top" tables and $4500 for 33 "also-ran" tables - less costs of about $150 a head - the return to Labor Party election funds had to be not less than $800,000. Plus another hefty bag from a so-called "Labor Business Forum, budget briefing" breakfast, sponsored by Leighton Holdings, which Gartrell organised in the Parliament's second-floor Mural Hall (capacity 450) the morning after budget night. An additional $250,000, at least. We'll know officially later this year.
Good budget business indeed.
Recall another Rudd Government "event" two months ago, this time sponsored by the Prime Minister and co-sponsored by the Opposition Leader, Brendan Nelson. That was the 60th anniversary motion in which half the Australian Parliament - the House of Representatives - "celebrated" Israel's creation in May 1948 by a vote of the United Nations which ceded the Jewish people a homeland of half of Palestine. There was no debate of Kevin Rudd's motion. Simply two speeches, by Rudd and Nelson, and later a reception hosted by the Israeli ambassador. The date was March 13.
Five weeks later, on April 23, the Melbourne organisation Women for Palestine wrote separately to Rudd and to Nelson, asking if they would "consider favourably" similarly sponsoring a parliamentary motion recognising May 15, the actual date of the 60th anniversary of Israel's creation, as a day of "catastrophe, dispossession, displacement, exile and occupation" for the 700,000 Palestinians who'd lost their homes, their land and, in many cases, their lives in May 1948.
The letters were sent express post. Women for Palestine also emailed each of the Parliament's 226 politicians. The group got one reply - an acknowledgement from the office of Adelaide's Kate Ellis, Rudd's junior Minister for Youth and Sport. Nothing else.
Nothing from Rudd or Nelson, either.
In the Parliament this week, two women MPs tried to prick their colleagues' consciences. The Greens senator Kerry Nettle and Labor's Julia Irwin, both from Sydney, tabled motions in the Senate and the House of Representatives on Wednesday. Irwin was allowed three minutes to speak on Wednesday, not in the House chamber itself but in the auxiliary main committee room. She said, in part: "Eight years ago, I visited Israel and the occupied territories. The experience changed my views.
"Today we remember what Palestinians call al-Nakba, the catastrophe. Sixty years ago, Palestinians fled their homes to escape massacres. Can those of us in Western nations, who have expressed congratulations to Israel on its 60th birthday, not spare a moment to remember the suffering of the Palestinian people 60 years ago, and the daily consequences of their dispossession, displacement, exile and occupation? Today those 700,000 Palestinian refugees have grown to 7 million. Four million live under illegal occupation. Three million live as non-citizens in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and other countries. Palestine was never a land without a people.
"Today it is a people without a land."
Kerry Nettle's motion on Thursday urged, in part: "That the Senate (a) acknowledges and sympathises with the Palestinians whose homes were destroyed or seized and family members killed 60 years ago at the inception of the state of Israel, which the Palestinians call al-Nakba, the catastrophe; (2) remembers with shame the failure of the international community to prevent the bloody events that followed the unilateral declaration of independent statehood by Israeli leaders; (3) acknowledges the unique relationship between Australia and Palestine, commends the Palestinian Authority's commitment to democracy, reiterates Australia's commitment to Palestine's right to exist and our ongoing support to the peaceful establishment of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and on this, the 60th anniversary, pledges friendship and enduring support to the people of Palestine".
There was no debate. Nettle did not get to speak in support of what she wanted her colleagues to do. What the Senate then did was throw out Nettle's motion by 48 votes to five, with 23 senators declining to vote. The entire exercise - the reading of the motion and subsequent vote - took nine minutes. Julia Irwin had got three minutes.
Our even-handed Middle East policy.
John Milton was a poet and a freedom fighter
On the 400th anniversary of John Milton's birth, we should remember him as a pamphleteer who set up the struggle for English liberty . By Simon Heffer, Last Updated: 11:38PM GMT 09 Dec 2008
William Blake's illustration to John Milton's 'Paradise Lost’
One of the most dangerous things a great artist can do is to compose one work by which he is always remembered, to the detriment of all else he has done. Who can list the accomplishments of Leonardo beyond the Mona Lisa? How many can name the creations of Pugin beyond the interior of the House of Lords? Or cite the many masterpieces Holst wrote besides The Planets?
We all know that John Milton, born 400 years ago yesterday, wrote Paradise Lost. It is hard to pass beyond that, apparently: and when one encounters what Eliot called "the poetry of the sublime" in that epic, does it not put all else into the shade? Was it not, indeed, the point of Milton's life, as defined by him? Eight years at Cambridge, six years reading at his father's country house, and a belated and truncated grand tour of Italy were the conscious preparation for what he saw to be the task ordained for him by God, of a poet: and one who would, as he put it when he finally came to write the epic in his late fifties, "assert eternal providence,/And justify the ways of God to men".
It is hard to go beyond Paradise Lost. One could spend (and some have spent) a lifetime considering the nature of its composition, dissecting Milton's quite peculiar brand of religious thought as displayed within it, noting the originality of his language (a tour through the Oxford English Dictionary reveals just how many words were coined by him) and revelling in the sheer and subtle musicality of his verse.
Here was a man largely uninfluenced by the titans of the English canon before him – Chaucer, Spenser and Shakespeare. His inspiration was from Homer, Virgil and Dante. He was England's own renaissance man, and this steeping in the classics was what made him our greatest poet:
High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with
Showers on her Kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
To that bad eminence.
Those magnificent lines are not merely an object lesson in word-painting, or in sonorities: the quotation comes to a crashing halt with a knowing paradox that laces all before it with irony. For Milton was a journalist.
In this newspaper on Monday, A. N. Wilson, Milton's finest living biographer, evoked Wordsworth's call, during England's tribulations at the start of the 19th century, that Milton should "be living at this hour". The quotation goes on; "England hath need of thee." To Wordsworth, it was Milton's power to illuminate that the England of the Napoleonic Wars needed – "Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:/Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free". Now, our liberties threatened by the state, we need his power to see truth and articulate it without fear for the consequences.
Milton influenced generations of poets after him, not least Wordsworth himself: but it is less well known, or appreciated, that he influenced generations of political thinkers, down to the present day. He cut off his foreign travel in 1639 because of the worsening situation in England, which he saw mainly as a struggle against episcopacy, and the venal, quasi-Catholic rule of Archbishop Laud. Milton would always be a prisoner of his own conscience. He did not see himself, then, as a polemicist, but felt that God demanded he use his literary talents and his superior intellect (of both of which he was in no doubt) to argue the case for the society he felt Englishmen should by right inhabit.
In this, he started a tradition that carried on through Wilkes, Paine, Cobbett, Mill, Bright and, in our times, to Enoch Powell and Tony Benn. It is a strand of Englishness that (as Mr Wilson wrote on Monday) makes the crucial distinction between licence and liberty; and makes the simple demand that the state leave the individual alone to make his own mistakes and regulate his own existence. By the time of Milton's death in 1674, his political creed seemed to have run aground in wholesale failure: yet he had sown the seeds of a wider movement towards liberty that would flower hundreds of years after him.
Driven by his conscience, impelled by an iron grip on logic and powered by a facility with words that sparked fear and anger in his opponents, Milton spent much of the 1640s and 1650s writing polemics – some would say propaganda – rather than poetry. His convictions carried him eventually into the service of the Lord Protector, as Secretary for Foreign Tongues. His first pamphlets were on the Church, and the need to end episcopacy. He then moved on to education – "the end then of learning is to repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright".
This knowledge could be won, he argued, only by articulacy in languages, permitting the student to read widely, to grasp the basics of argument and to be enabled to dispute. The contemporary destruction of our education system, with a halfwit suggesting that children should simply be taught "themes" relevant to their everyday lives, could not be a greater antithesis to this.
Yet, like all good journalists, Milton never lost the capacity to surprise. He had married unwisely (something that became rather a habit) and longed to be able to divorce his wife. This Godly man then wrote four pamphlets on the subject, finding much Biblical authority for his position. When they caused outrage, he showed a sharp sense of humour in a sonnet ridiculing his detractors; but also wrote perhaps his greatest pamphlet, Areopagitica, on the evils of censorship.
It is his later pamphlets, though, that set up the struggle for English liberty that we now, to our shock, appear after all to be losing. The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates argued "that it is lawful, and hath been held so through all ages, for any, who have the power, to call to account a tyrant, or wicked king, and after due conviction to depose, and put him to death" – sentiments that very nearly caused Milton, after the Restoration, to join the unhappy parade of those hanged, drawn and quartered at Charing Cross for the regicide of 1649. They established the general principle that the people were sovereign (even if, in this particular case, the sovereignty took on a rather extreme face) and demolished the case for the divine right of kings in a way that only a religious zealot could do. His later argument for republicanism in The Ready and Easy Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth merely set the parameters for what became our constitutional monarchy.
Milton's influence on our world has been immense. We use his words every day. We quote him, often unknowingly – "they also serve who only stand and wait", or we misquote his "tomorrow to fresh woods, and pastures new". But, above all, we continue to imbibe his doctrine, and to believe in its rightfulness. In that sense, he does live at this hour, however much Mr Brown's police state tries to deny him.
From the Archives:
Anti-Semitism hits the Web 11/10/2000 ABC TV 7:30 Report
MAXINE McKEW: The World Wide Web has often been described as a free market for ideas and information, but according to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, cyberspace is no place for material claiming that say the Holocaust is a myth. Yesterday the commission made an unprecedented order for the removal of a website -- created by a group calling itself the Adelaide Institute, because it breached the Racial Discrimination Act by posting material offensive to Jews. The man behind the website, former school teacher Fredrick Toben, has previously been jailed in Germany for breaching their laws. Now, he's refusing to comply with the commission's finding -- a move likely to see the case tested in the Federal Court. Mike Sexton reports.
JEREMY JONES, EXECUTIVE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIAN JEWRY: They are saying that if you are a Holocaust survivor or if you have relatives who perished during the Nazi Holocaust, no matter how close, they say that you are lying about what happened to your loved one for some material gain. So they are sticking the dagger in twice.
DR FREDRICK TOBEN, ADELAIDE INSTITUTE: If we're in a democracy, then we must have the ability to have opposing points of view openly aired, even if it's hurtful and somewhat offensive.
MIKE SEXTON: Fredrick Toben, a retired high school English teacher and amateur historian, has created a small piece of history himself. He's the first person in Australia to be ordered to remove an Internet website because it was based on racial hatred.
ADELAIDE INSTITUTE VIDEO: This second door, you can see it's supposed to be gas tight. That is the problem.
MIKE SEXTON: Like controversial British historian David Irving, Fredrick Toben and the handful of members of his Adelaide Institute argued there was no systematic execution of Jews in the Second World War.
DR FREDRICK TOBEN: Hundreds of thousands died, Jewish and non-Jewish people, it's not in dispute because that's documented. What isn't documented is the terrible allegation that the Germans systematically exterminated European Jewry in homicidal gas chambers.
JEREMY JONES: More has been written about the Nazi Holocaust than any other period of world history. There is more academic debate taking place all around the world right now, there's a serious debate. But someone who denies the Holocaust took place is not part of that debate, their somebody who is merely trying to use that as a pretext to launch anti-Semitic attacks.
MIKE SEXTON: Jeremy Jones is the Vice-President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. He found Dr Toben's denial of the Holocaust so offensive, he brought a case to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.
JEREMY JONES: Within the first few weeks of that site going up I received probably as many complaints about offence and hurt and injury caused by that website as I would about everything else going on in Australia over the same sort of period.
MIKE SEXTON: In a landmark decision, the commission described the website as bullying, insulting and offensive to the Jewish population and ordered the website be taken down and Dr Toben apologise to Mr Jones.
JEREMY JONES: We are vindicated because we believed that what he was doing was unlawful.
DR FREDRICK TOBEN: Truth is our defence in these proceedings, but Commissioner McEvoy didn't want to hear about the truthfulness of any of these allegations.
MIKE SEXTON: She has said though, the main purposes of the publication of the material was a humiliation and denigration of the Jewish people. That's an incredibly strong statement to make.
DR FREDRICK TOBEN: But these are sweeping generalisations.
MIKE SEXTON: Dr Toben believes the website is an academic discussion point, but the commission didn't agree.
EXCERPT FROM HUMAN RIGHTS & EQUAL OPPORTUNITY DECISION: "None of the material contained on the website is of an historical, intellectual or scientific standard which is persuasive on these issues and is largely expressed in highly tendentious and often offensive and insulting language about Jewish people, which makes it difficult to give serious consideration to the propositions contained in it."
JEREMY JONES: If somebody says that they want to talk about the time when Gough Whitlam was PM and they want to discuss whether he was a good prime minister or a bad prime minister, you can discuss that.
If somebody says they want to discuss it because they want to argue he was never prime minister, you would say "What is the possible logic of arguing with someone like that?"
MIKE SEXTON: But if the Adelaide Institute website is considered a dead end on the information superhighway, then where does that leave other sites that contain potentially offensive or misleading information?
IRENE GRAHAM, ELECTRONIC FRONTIERS AUSTRALIA: It's really not for the Government to decide that this site is factual and this site's not. People need to learn to analyse information, have critical reading skills and so on, and be able to make up their own mind.
MIKE SEXTON: Irene Graham is part of an Internet civil libertarians group called Electronic Frontiers Australia.
While the group deplores racist and hateful speech, it wrote to the commission defending Dr Toben's right to cyber freedom.
IRENE GRAHAM: Certainly, there seems to be the potential for it to be quite a nasty threat to freedom of speech because it is opening the door for many groups of people to claim to have been insulted or humiliated by something written on a website and yet the ruling doesn't clearly define where the line is to be drawn as to what extent offensive speech is illegal.
JEREMY JONES: We recognise that the Internet is an area where there are people who seem to think it can exist outside the rules which generally govern society. We don't believe that for one moment.
MIKE SEXTON: Fredrick Toben believes it's an issue of freedom of speech and argued his opinions were sincerely held and offered in good faith. But this was rejected by the commission.
EXCERPT FROM HUMAN RIGHTS & EQUAL OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION DECISION: "I would have very great difficulty in determining any of the material placed on the Adelaide Institute website by Dr Toben was put there 'reasonably and in good faith'."
MIKE SEXTON: The battle over the website isn't over, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has no real teeth to enforce its decision.
DR IAIN STEWART, MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY: Toben is saying "OK, sue me," and that is just what will have to happen. But it's going to be an expensive thing to do and there's no guarantee at all of the outcome.
MIKE SEXTON: Fredrick Toben has already spent seven months in a German prison for breaking that country's laws on Holocaust denial. He says he'll be following the same path here rather than apologise or shut down his website.
DR FREDRICK TOBEN: For years, even during my teaching days, I informed students that the most precious thing we have is free speech. So I'm quite prepared to go to jail for that to show that I practice what I preach
JEREMY JONES: Fredrick Toben, if he goes to jail will go because he broke Australian law and I don't think most Australians think that is a particularly noble thing to do.
Transcripts on this website are created by an independent transcription service. The ABC does not warrant the accuracy of the transcripts.
Found on the Internet: From Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia, a real peddlers of hate selling his services as an EXPERT COMMENTATOR who, however, lacks moral and intellectual courage to face the naked truth and instead spreads nothing but hatred by propagating the various Holocaust-Shoah lies.
EXPERT COMMENTATOR –
'Holocaust Denier' Fredrick Töben
10 October 2008
With the arrest in the UK of Australian 'Holocaust denier' Fredrick Töben Victoria University advises that Associate Professor Danny Ben-Moshe is available for comment on Holocaust denial.
Danny is Director of the Institute for Community, Ethnicity and Policy Alternatives, at Victoria University. In May 2006 he authored a major work on Holocaust denial in Australia.
Link: Holocaust Denial in Australia', Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism no. 25, Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Jerusalem, 2005, pgs.49: http://sicsa.huji.ac.il/acta25.pdf
He is widely published on Anti-Semitism. His completed his PhD at Melbourne University on the subject of anti-Semitism in Australia. His career experience includes being the Executive Director of the B'nai Brith Anti-Defamation Commission from 1996 to 2000. Danny also has a centenary Federation medal for leadership against and education into racism in Australia.
Danny is available for interview.
Media Contact: Andy Gash, Snr. Media Officer,
Marketing & Communications Department, Victoria University
Ph: (03) 9919 4950; mobile: 0411 255900
Fredrick Töben again to challenge German Holocaust law
1. Fredrick Töben at Australian Parliament House, Canberra, ACT,advises of his intentions soon to enter Germany and confront public prosecutor Andreas Grossmann.
2. After Töben was not extradited to Germany but was released from his 50 days in prison 1 October - 19 November 2008 for refusing to believe in the Holocaust-Shoah, Mr Grossmann vowed 'to hunt him down'anywhere in the world.
3. Grossmann wishes to criminalise thinking and the expressing of opinions on historical matters. He fears Revisionists because they strive to tell the truth about historical matters, especially those contentious matters pertaining to the period of history called the Holocaust-Shoah.
4. For Grossmann truth does not matter and an antiquated 'Offenkundigkeit' law, Section 130 of the German Penal Code, clashes with Section 5 of the German constitution that guarantees a free expression of a world view - Weltanschauung.
5. British Common Law does not as yet criminalise an individual's revisionist activity because expressing one's opinion is just that - always subject to a revision when new information comes along.
6. This exemplifies the importance of having a free flow of information otherwise it is not possible mentally to function efficiently.
On 12 January 2009 Fredrick Töben says on You Tube
Hello and welcome from Canberra, the capital city of Australia! This is where we have the debates, this is where the power resides. This is where things happen.
I’m also going to make it happen because we are here where truth prevails, where the element of our civilization is put to the test.
Personally I was imprisoned last year in October-November in London because the Germans had an arrest warrant out for me and they wanted to have me extradited because I refuse to believe in the Holocaust.
Now, as far as the British common law principles are concerned, they came into focus that we do not as yet criminalize thoughts as the Germans do.
This is, of course, a real upsetting moment for public prosecutors such as Mr Grossmann in Mannheim who would like to see me in Germany.
Well, Mr Grossmann, here is a message for you - that, in the near future I shall be travelling to Germany, I shall be visiting you, and we shall be thrashing it out in the German court, and we shall see whether truth will prevail, whether the «Offenkundigkeit » will stand, whether we can in fact get some justice or whether you are simply going to demolish me and criminalize my thoughts, and, therefore, further kill the German soul.
This is what we are on about. In Australia we are free to speak the way I'm speaking here in front of Parliament House in Canberra, and I do hope that those who are watching this will take note that in the very near future I am progressing to that next stage in our battle for truth, in our battle for civilization, in our battle to liberate the people who are oppressed.
In a few weeks' time there is a conference in Tehran. Again it is trying to liberate the oppressed people who are oppressed by the Holocaust ideology; some would say the Holocaust industry, some would say the Holocaust lies.
This is what we are fighting for, this is what we are going to challenge and I hope that as many as possible of you who are watching this will also be inspired to challenge that which needs to be challenged because the element that is to be challenged is satanic.
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