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Israel's 60th birthday - Bush The Crusader lights the candles

How many protectors of Jerusalem over the centures would have loved this opportunity? On a visit to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the country, President Bush yesterday delivered this speech of Biblical proportions (which only varies from the prepared text in the blessings at beginning and end) to the Israeli parliament:


President Peres and Mr. Prime Minister, Madam Speaker, thank very much for hosting this special session. President Beinish, Leader of the Opposition Netanyahu, Ministers, members of the Knesset, distinguished guests: Shalom. Laura and I are thrilled to be back in Israel. We have been deeply moved by the celebrations of the past two days. And this afternoon, I am honored to stand before one of the world's great democratic assemblies and convey the wishes of the American people with these words: Yom Ha'atzmaut Sameach. (Applause.)

It is a rare privilege for the American President to speak to the Knesset. (Laughter.) Although the Prime Minister told me there is something even rarer -- to have just one person in this chamber speaking at a time. (Laughter.) My only regret is that one of Israel's greatest leaders is not here to share this moment. He is a warrior for the ages, a man of peace, a friend. The prayers of the American people are with Ariel Sharon. (Applause.)

We gather to mark a momentous occasion. Sixty years ago in Tel Aviv, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed Israel's independence, founded on the "natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate." What followed was more than the establishment of a new country. It was the redemption of an ancient promise given to Abraham and Moses and David -- a homeland for the chosen people Eretz Yisrael.

Eleven minutes later, on the orders of President Harry Truman, the United States was proud to be the first nation to recognize Israel's independence. And on this landmark anniversary, America is proud to be Israel's closest ally and best friend in the world.

The alliance between our governments is unbreakable, yet the source of our friendship runs deeper than any treaty. It is grounded in the shared spirit of our people, the bonds of the Book, the ties of the soul. When William Bradford stepped off the Mayflower in 1620, he quoted the words of Jeremiah: "Come let us declare in Zion the word of God." The founders of my country saw a new promised land and bestowed upon their towns names like Bethlehem and New Canaan. And in time, many Americans became passionate advocates for a Jewish state.

Centuries of suffering and sacrifice would pass before the dream was fulfilled. The Jewish people endured the agony of the pogroms, the tragedy of the Great War, and the horror of the Holocaust -- what Elie Wiesel called "the kingdom of the night." Soulless men took away lives and broke apart families. Yet they could not take away the spirit of the Jewish people, and they could not break the promise of God. (Applause.) When news of Israel's freedom finally arrived, Golda Meir, a fearless woman raised in Wisconsin, could summon only tears. She later said: "For two thousand years we have waited for our deliverance. Now that it is here it is so great and wonderful that it surpasses human words."

The joy of independence was tempered by the outbreak of battle, a struggle that has continued for six decades. Yet in spite of the violence, in defiance of the threats, Israel has built a thriving democracy in the heart of the Holy Land. You have welcomed immigrants from the four corners of the Earth. You have forged a free and modern society based on the love of liberty, a passion for justice, and a respect for human dignity. You have worked tirelessly for peace. You have fought valiantly for freedom.

My country's admiration for Israel does not end there. When Americans look at Israel, we see a pioneer spirit that worked an agricultural miracle and now leads a high-tech revolution. We see world-class universities and a global leader in business and innovation and the arts. We see a resource more valuable than oil or gold: the talent and determination of a free people who refuse to let any obstacle stand in the way of their destiny.

I have been fortunate to see the character of Israel up close. I have touched the Western Wall, seen the sun reflected in the Sea of Galilee, I have prayed at Yad Vashem. And earlier today, I visited Masada, an inspiring monument to courage and sacrifice. At this historic site, Israeli soldiers swear an oath: "Masada shall never fall again." Citizens of Israel: Masada shall never fall again, and America will be at your side.

This anniversary is a time to reflect on the past. It's also an opportunity to look to the future. As we go forward, our alliance will be guided by clear principles -- shared convictions rooted in moral clarity and unswayed by popularity polls or the shifting opinions of international elites.

We believe in the matchless value of every man, woman, and child. So we insist that the people of Israel have the right to a decent, normal, and peaceful life, just like the citizens of every other nation. (Applause.)

We believe that democracy is the only way to ensure human rights. So we consider it a source of shame that the United Nations routinely passes more human rights resolutions against the freest democracy in the Middle East than any other nation in the world. (Applause.)

We believe that religious liberty is fundamental to a civilized society. So we condemn anti-Semitism in all forms -- whether by those who openly question Israel's right to exist, or by others who quietly excuse them.

We believe that free people should strive and sacrifice for peace. So we applaud the courageous choices Israeli's leaders have made. We also believe that nations have a right to defend themselves and that no nation should ever be forced to negotiate with killers pledged to its destruction. (Applause.)

We believe that targeting innocent lives to achieve political objectives is always and everywhere wrong. So we stand together against terror and extremism, and we will never let down our guard or lose our resolve. (Applause.)

The fight against terror and extremism is the defining challenge of our time. It is more than a clash of arms. It is a clash of visions, a great ideological struggle. On the one side are those who defend the ideals of justice and dignity with the power of reason and truth. On the other side are those who pursue a narrow vision of cruelty and control by committing murder, inciting fear, and spreading lies.

This struggle is waged with the technology of the 21st century, but at its core it is an ancient battle between good and evil. The killers claim the mantle of Islam, but they are not religious men. No one who prays to the God of Abraham could strap a suicide vest to an innocent child, or blow up guiltless guests at a Passover Seder, or fly planes into office buildings filled with unsuspecting workers. In truth, the men who carry out these savage acts serve no higher goal than their own desire for power. They accept no God before themselves. And they reserve a special hatred for the most ardent defenders of liberty, including Americans and Israelis.

And that is why the founding charter of Hamas calls for the "elimination" of Israel. And that is why the followers of Hezbollah chant "Death to Israel, Death to America!" That is why Osama bin Laden teaches that "the killing of Jews and Americans is one of the biggest duties." And that is why the President of Iran dreams of returning the Middle East to the Middle Ages and calls for Israel to be wiped off the map.

There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain away their words. It's natural, but it is deadly wrong. As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously. Jews and Americans have seen the consequences of disregarding the words of leaders who espouse hatred. And that is a mistake the world must not repeat in the 21st century.

Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history. (Applause.)

Some people suggest if the United States would just break ties with Israel, all our problems in the Middle East would go away. This is a tired argument that buys into the propaganda of the enemies of peace, and America utterly rejects it. Israel's population may be just over 7 million. But when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because the United States of America stands with you. (Applause.)

America stands with you in breaking up terrorist networks and denying the extremists sanctuary. America stands with you in firmly opposing Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions. Permitting the world's leading sponsor of terror to possess the world's deadliest weapons would be an unforgivable betrayal for future generations. For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. (Applause.)

Ultimately, to prevail in this struggle, we must offer an alternative to the ideology of the extremists by extending our vision of justice and tolerance and freedom and hope. These values are the self-evident right of all people, of all religions, in all the world because they are a gift from the Almighty God. Securing these rights is also the surest way to secure peace. Leaders who are accountable to their people will not pursue endless confrontation and bloodshed. Young people with a place in their society and a voice in their future are less likely to search for meaning in radicalism. Societies where citizens can express their conscience and worship their God will not export violence, they will be partners in peace.

The fundamental insight, that freedom yields peace, is the great lesson of the 20th century. Now our task is to apply it to the 21st. Nowhere is this work more urgent than here in the Middle East. We must stand with the reformers working to break the old patterns of tyranny and despair. We must give voice to millions of ordinary people who dream of a better life in a free society. We must confront the moral relativism that views all forms of government as equally acceptable and thereby consigns whole societies to slavery. Above all, we must have faith in our values and ourselves and confidently pursue the expansion of liberty as the path to a peaceful future.

That future will be a dramatic departure from the Middle East of today. So as we mark 60 years from Israel's founding, let us try to envision the region 60 years from now. This vision is not going to arrive easily or overnight; it will encounter violent resistance. But if we and future Presidents and future Knessets maintain our resolve and have faith in our ideals, here is the Middle East that we can see:

Israel will be celebrating the 120th anniversary as one of the world's great democracies, a secure and flourishing homeland for the Jewish people. The Palestinian people will have the homeland they have long dreamed of and deserved -- a democratic state that is governed by law, and respects human rights, and rejects terror. From Cairo to Riyadh to Baghdad and Beirut, people will live in free and independent societies, where a desire for peace is reinforced by ties of diplomacy and tourism and trade. Iran and Syria will be peaceful nations, with today's oppression a distant memory and where people are free to speak their minds and develop their God-given talents. Al Qaeda and Hezbollah and Hamas will be defeated, as Muslims across the region recognize the emptiness of the terrorists' vision and the injustice of their cause.

Overall, the Middle East will be characterized by a new period of tolerance and integration. And this doesn't mean that Israel and its neighbors will be best of friends. But when leaders across the region answer to their people, they will focus their energies on schools and jobs, not on rocket attacks and suicide bombings. With this change, Israel will open a new hopeful chapter in which its people can live a normal life, and the dream of Herzl and the founders of 1948 can be fully and finally realized.

This is a bold vision, and some will say it can never be achieved. But think about what we have witnessed in our own time. When Europe was destroying itself through total war and genocide, it was difficult to envision a continent that six decades later would be free and at peace. When Japanese pilots were flying suicide missions into American battleships, it seemed impossible that six decades later Japan would be a democracy, a lynchpin of security in Asia, and one of America's closest friends. And when waves of refugees arrived here in the desert with nothing, surrounded by hostile armies, it was almost unimaginable that Israel would grow into one of the freest and most successful nations on the earth.

Yet each one of these transformations took place. And a future of transformation is possible in the Middle East, so long as a new generation of leaders has the courage to defeat the enemies of freedom, to make the hard choices necessary for peace, and stand firm on the solid rock of universal values.

Sixty years ago, on the eve of Israel's independence, the last British soldiers departing Jerusalem stopped at a building in the Jewish quarter of the Old City. An officer knocked on the door and met a senior rabbi. The officer presented him with a short iron bar -- the key to the Zion Gate -- and said it was the first time in 18 centuries that a key to the gates of Jerusalem had belonged to a Jew. His hands trembling, the rabbi offered a prayer of thanksgiving to God, "Who had granted us life and permitted us to reach this day." Then he turned to the officer, and uttered the words Jews had awaited for so long: "I accept this key in the name of my people."

Over the past six decades, the Jewish people have established a state that would make that humble rabbi proud.  You have raised a modern society in the Promised Land, a light unto the nations that preserves the legacy of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.  And you have built a mighty democracy that will endure forever and can always count on the United States of America to be at your side. 

God bless.

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Sabre rattling or preparing for war?

Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.Several American officials said the Israeli exercise appeared to be an effort to develop the military’s capacity to carry out long-range strikes and to demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel views Iran’s nuclear program.

More than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters participated in the maneuvers, which were carried out over the eastern Mediterranean and over Greece during the first week of June, American officials said.

Was this exercise sabre rattling or is Israel preparing for war?

If Israel is serious about bombing Iran, the price of oil will soar, the world economy will collapse and we will move closer to a world war.

Is this going to be Bush's last hooray?

March of the War Criminals

It would certainly leave a nasty mess for the  Democrats to inherit, should they gain the White House shortly.

Israeli girl visits Gaza

Something that is really quite magical. Such feelings and such sharings and such joy and such friendship.

Shows nothing is impossible and how peoples all over the world are basically kind and friendly even to one the propaganda calls enemy.

The more people of like mind and generous spirit from different political groups can mix, the more the damage from the nastiness of their leaderships can be diffused.


Iran withholding information on its bomb project - IAEA

" may be withholding information needed to establish whether it tried to make nuclear arms, the International Atomic Energy Agency has said in an unusually strongly worded report."

That's because they were building a bomb. To destroy Israel. As they have repeatedly stated. With Syrian and North Korean support.

Richard:   The jury's still out on that one Eliot.  "May" is a non-definitive word.   And have the Iranians said this "over and over"?  Or is the other interpretation, that Iran believes the current Israeli adminsitration should be removed, still plausible?  It still seems to have currency.

Welfare services. And working for the Soviets.

 Marilyn Shepherd: "Hamas was welcome because they supplied welfare services when Fatah would not. "

Well, then perhaps it should drop the genocidal objectives of its Charter (namely Article 7) and focus on providing welfare services. But then it would lose its financial backing from Iran, I suppose.

By the way, getting back to Sir Max Hastings, I recommend especialy his Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45, Harper Press, 2007.

Phenomenal read. Especially the chapters demolishing the more recent revisionist myths about Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the subsequent decision by Japan's Emperor to sack his government and sue for peace.

Scott Dunmore: "Yes, the Rosenbergs would have been executed regardless of their name. They were found guilty of treason and the evidence as I remember was very strong. "

Facts subsequently borne out by Soviet archives. Their KGB handler was Alexander Feklisov no less, the Soviet-era spy chief.

Years later, he published an autobiography, The Man Behind the Rosenbergs, in which he described his work guiding the intelligence-gathering work of the couple.

The Rosenbergs were executed in 1953 after being convicted of supplying the Soviet Union with top-secret information on U.S. efforts to develop the atomic bomb.

Feklisov said Rosenberg was a Soviet sympathizer who handed over secrets on military electronics, but not the atomic bomb.

All this was denied vigorously by western Leftists at the time, of course, being ever-dutiful to their Soviet masters.

Fiona: Nemesis sounds interesting, Eliot. Would you like to do a review for Webdiary?

One of the greatest human rights crimes on earth.

Mr Carter expressed his support for Israel as a country, but criticised its domestic and foreign policy.

"One of the greatest human rights crimes on earth is the starvation and imprisonment of 1.6m Palestinians," he said.

The former US president cited statistics which he said showed the nutritional intake of some Palestinian children was below that of children in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as saying the European position on Israel could be best described as "supine".

Israeli treatment of Palestinians is "One of the greatest human rights crimes on earth". In the same article it says that Israel has 150 nuclear weapons.

It is time the UN enforced sanctions on Israel for illegal WMD's and holding the Palestinian people in similar conditions to Hitler's concentration camps. No wonder a lot of Muslims hate Israel and its supporters.

Into the fifth set

Scott Dunmore: "Paul, you belittle yourself if you cannot accept that all socialists are not the same and your simplistic rules do not determine the thoughts and behaviour of more than a few of them."

Problem is I never wrote that. What I wrote about was a broad based political movement of the time.

I merely asked the question: What's changed in the last decade in regards to Israel and Jews? Why did an internationalist Democratic Roosevelt movement (broadly socialist), decide to jump into bed with isolationist old guard Republicans? What in their naivety did they ever hope to gain?

You've got to understand, Scott Dunmore, that leftists have always, and will always, be their own worst political enemy. So easily duped, and moulded, by the cunning and the powerful.

I remember thinking at election 96 that the Dems would reign for some time to come (the GOP was a fractured circus). Finally they (Dems) appeared to be getting their act together. Fast forward a decade and bit, and I can't see them (Dems) in "stable" power for a long time to come. Bush hasn't been their Godsend; he's been their devil. They've fractured and split their base in one of the greatest acts of political immolation I've been around to witness. Forget the crap you read in the media: this organization (Dems) has some major problems - and if Obama is elected (I find that highly unlikely); the problems are only just beginning.

Strange thing is I don't, and never have bothered to vote. I also probably understand more about the system than 99% of people who do. Perhaps a large part of the reason I've avoided taking part in it.

PS Clinton won’t be to blame for their defeat - though of course she'll be blamed. Their own idiocy of course will be the real culprit. Anyhow I look forward to four more years hearing about racist America, and fraud elections.

My serve

Paul, I'm afraid I cannot answer your question "What's changed in the last decade in regards to Israel and Jews? "

I can only answer for myself. What changed my attitude was footage of Palestinian homes being bulldozed, interviews with Palestinians ( before the Israelis got smart enough to realise the bad press they were getting and banned foreign journalists), but that was over thirty years ago.

Looking at the political spectrum, it ranges from infra red to ultra violet, the lunatic fringes. It's unfortunate because the extremes are invariably the most vocal and their utterances make the more moderate an easy target: guilt by association.

There is something I'm slightly curious about though; just why is support for the Palestinians mainly coming from the left and vice versa? Somebody not so long ago suggsted that "the left always love an underdog" or words to that effect. I cannot remember my reply exactly but it ran along the lines of justice and equity being the domain of the left.

There's more to it than that though; psychology must come into it somewhere.

Can we change the game to cricket? That most gentlemanly of games that can comfortably result in a draw or tie?

Richard:  .. or Bodyline.  We're on the same wavelength though, Scottt.

Hamas is not the problem

In 1948 Israhell stole a nation, they killed or drove the populace into the sea. When the PLO began they refused to deal with them for 40 years to the revolting Bibi helped set up Hamas.

Hamas was welcome because they supplied welfare services when Fatah would not.

After Israhell murdered Arafat they forced elections and Hamas was elected so they refused to deal with Hamas and insist they will deal with Fatah, but they don't.

Why don't you read the Israhell historians instead of peddling the normal drivel, Eliot?

Yes, a problem

Marilyn, "After Israhell murdered Arafat"  I assume you have proof of this? No, I thought not. For goodness sake woman, please use the correct name Israel.

Peace without racsim and genocide means peace with justice

Hey Alan :

Angela Ryan: "starved, bombed from planes, supersonic booms daily and nightly, tank shelling and tank destruction of anything they cherished.

You forget to mention getting blown up with their own suicide bombers, or being shot at by the masked members of Hamas. Very convenient.

I did  too, and I agree such  violence is not to be commended . Just as the French Resistance were criticised for their violent and ruthless actions and the ANC in their horrible Tire Burnings,  so too can we  in our secure arm chairs condemn both sides for their viscious deeds in response to each others and in the plan for genocide and the Hamas and Fatah gun fights and suicide bombings..

And do you, Alan, also condemn the Israeli military? What do you , Alan , think should happen to those who deliberately drop one tonne bombs on crowded apartment blocks in the middle of the night?  Or machine gun children?  Or Fletchette bomb journalists and olive grove pickers? Or bomb picnicers on a beach? Or over and over bombings that kill so many of the people or the destruction of their power plant with 6 missiles?  Dare to condemn the Israeli military that do indeed make a hell on earht for thsoe violently occupied with violent occupation?  Do any here dare to condemn any of the Israeli military actions against the civilians of the occupied territories???  Any??   And yet, so vociferous in condemning Sadam's actions etc.  I guess one genocide is not the same as others is it?

One does not have to be Jewish or non-Jewish , Arab or non-Arab to criticise from the heights blatant actions that are horrendous and warcrimes. If people had criticised the NazIs rather than nodding away their actions because of the fear of Communism and hte monies invested in German companies then who knows where it might have stopped?  Imagine if the World Jewish boycott had been respected world wide in 1933?  Hitler would be out in a short moment. the weimar Republic reinstated adn the end of totalitarianims then. No gas ovens, no ghettos, no Manhatten project........hey, no Kissinger! Possibly attention to Stalin's actions...early before the Rosenbergs and Karov gave him the bomb.

Any nation, whether our ally or otherwise, Israel or China or Russia or Zimbabwe or USA or UK or Indonesia , wherever, must be held ot account for the way their use their miltiary force and the harm such does.  Must be held to account for torture, bombings, arrest without  trials, summary executions, stargvation adn ghetoisation of a population......any nation. Otherwise we truly have the rise of new NAZI states where anything is ok and it results in invasion of neighbours and attacks upon those in their region for their security and land N and the "west" nodding and giving them a few more days each time..

it is time for a single state in that area with multicultural base, just as any other State, and respect and equality for all within it. Israelstine rather than Israhell.It is time for a Post apartheid like commission about the crimes committed.  The alternative is ethnic cleansing and genocide just as in history. When will enough  then be enough? When the wife wants to be God?

All states should be held to account and racist theory abandoned.All men are created equal under Gd. And women. This is the beginning of the US declaration.Worthy to consider. Palestinians as much right to live there and return there as refugee returning as European Jews. Is this  a fact? No. The state is racist. It has been recognised as such in Durban. Why support this?Or are some races superior to others to be supported?

Hamas is a response to  a violent occcupation and corrupted Fatah now headed by a millionaire Jord/saud stooge B'Hai . Hamas was elected.  The stooge's main opposition after Arafat was killed was kept in Israeli jail. Mandala was jailed too for violent oppostion to an Apartheid state.Such tactics are transparent and do not produce peace.

Remove the occupation adn the suffering, equalise all under law and ,allow the refugees to return to their homes, decide upon the bordersand then , as Saudi  Prince Faisal has alraedy offered , there will be peace and a recognised Israel .  Offered 2002. 

Also we could have the removal of the nuclear weapons (150 according to Carter)  , now that would be nice, a real nuclear free ME. Perhaps AEIA inspectors could tour all the countries there then including Israel. Consider Dimona is past useby date anyway-win win. Does Israel really think it still needs the Samson Option against EU states?  When all states claim the same right to nuclear weapons as Israel then is not all the area under more threat?

Time to cease appeasing Israel , cease giving land and settlements for peace, time to have peace for all there and imagine the prosperity for that area as the best sight for the Saudi Pipeline that Russia is currently negotiating building to the Mediteranean! 

Peace with justice. For those who have suffered so much at the hands of "nation builders" and colonisers. For those who have suffered for their governments violent agenda and lost loved ones to terrorist attacks. Palestine is a land of religious significance for many an dhas many waves of peoples living there. Time for peace without genocide and cleansing.Peace with nutual respect and rights and opportunity. Peace with justice.  The history of the land prays for nothing less.

Time for a one state solution. 


Marilyn Shepherd says;

"And we support this trashy place? "

Yes. Hamas, however, and its backers have resolved not merely to destroy it, but Hamas's charter calls on Muslims everywhere to kill Jews wherever they find them.

Also, you cannot even spell Israel without turning it into a racist slander, can you? Reminds me of those southern rednecks that call black people Nigras.

By the way, that's Sir Max Hastings to you.

"Abolish arabic"

So say these two lovely ladies, if that's what one could call them.

I would like people to think about this.    What if the UN decided that Tibet needed a homeland far away due to years of oppression by the Chinese and they decided Australia would be excellent.   WE were not given a vote because we have a foreign head of state making our decisions for us so the Tibetans are granted 56% of our land even though they are a minority with minor ownership.      We don't like it but they start bulldozing, blowing up and destroying our homes and committing the sort of mass murder described in Ilan Pappe's book "The ethnic cleansing of Palestine".    531 villages and 13 urban centres are destroyed and nearly 800,000 people are driven into the sea while zionists are peddling the lies of the Uris book.

 Then I want people to get hold of another book I am wading through.

Max Hastings of the Guardian and other major papers describes it this way

"VE day on May 6, 1945 mocked the subsequent conditions of Europe.  As crowds in London, Paris and New York celebrated the declaration of peace, much more misery and death lay ahead.  Two, perhaps three million Germans persihed in the years that followed:  in captivity, from hunger and casual violence, and above all the expulsion of ethnic Germans from the east, which the western allies had agreed with the Russians before hostilities ended.

 Giles MacDonogh's book chronicles this saga from the liberation of Vienna to the Berlin Airlift.....it makes grimmer reader than most war stories because there is little redemptive courage or virtue.   Here is a catalogue of pillage, rape, starvation, inhumanity and suffering on a titanic scale.   After the Reich brings together many stories that deserve to be better known in the west".

I thinks these two books alone should suffice to stop the senseless war stories and glamour of the non-state called Israhell.

 On two small notes.   Norman Finkelstein, the son of two holocaust survivors and historian, has been denied entry to Israhell.

Last week some lovely orthodox chaps rounded up the bibles of some of the Christian evangelicals who decided to visit and had a good old fashioned book burning.

And we support this trashy place?

"waning star" touches down safely on Mars

Sorry to interupt, but the "waning star" has safely landed Phoenix on Mars.

I don't mind admitting, I'm really effing excited!!!

The shifting sands of time

Scott Dunmore : "Yes, the Rosenbergs would have been executed regardless of their name. They were found guilty of treason and the evidence as I remember was very strong."

Well, yes, maybe.

Though if you were a socialist of the day, you'd likely not be writing that (writing about a Kangaroo Court comes to mind). You'd probably later not be celebrating the attack on "Jew-controlled Hollywood" either - and you'd probably be writing about the benefits of the Kibbutz or the "communist training farm clubs" as Henry Ford once described them (I still find it amusing reading self-titled intellectuals rehashing the "special musings" of an anti-intellectual like Henry Ford). Yes, back then, there's a very good chance that, as a good socialist, you'd be supporting Israel at the expense of Arab nationalism.

So what's changed? Perhaps those Floridian Jews just weren't grateful enough?


Take special note of the date - and go through the years.

My oh my, how some messages change when political expediency is needed. The mind-numbing empty headed world of the political goat herder indeed makes for fascinating watching.

Giving up

Paul you belittle yourself if you cannot accept that all socialists are not the same and your simplistic rules do not determine the thoughts and beviour of more than a rew of them. 

The leftie rightie love that dares not speak its name

Scott Dunmore : “[Paul Morrella:] ‘Republican old guard.’ Genuinely perplexed, to whom do you refer?”

I'm writing about old school Republicanism - isolationism, conservatism, right-wingism, whatever "ism" you wish to call it. Make no mistake; anti-semitism was a big unquestioned part of this movement, world wide, during the first half of the 20th century.

Now does anyone really believe the Rosenbergs would have been "whacked" if their name was Jones?

Jews are communists, Jews are spies, was as common as Anglo only country clubs for the old school conservative. Of course they were the days when much of this came with a class distinction (many an industrialist was a proud anti-semite); unlike the white trash (think American Conservative) that holds this particular movement together now days.

So yes, the old school Republican guard, and the socialist left are at the moment together like white on rice.

[Paul Morrella;] Of course back then Israel gained leftist support. Back then Israel was viewed as the underdog (and socialists love an underdog irrespective of the battle).’ A tad dismissive and not entirely true. I couched it in different terms and I’m surprised you didn’t pick up on it.

Israel is disproportionally condemned compared to other regions in the world. For mind this isn't even an argument.

Neither have I but I don’t think I’ve met an Israeli citizen and if I did I’d be very wary about broaching the subject but the sentiment is out there regardless of the source. Did they ever give you a justification?

Never has a Jewish person given me any justification for Israel - and neither should they. Do you justify your nation? Do know a Jewish guy that once said Moses should've turned right instead of left - and with the current price of oil he's certainly not telling me anything I don't know.

To bear to the left or bear to the right (after Flanders & Swan)

Paul Morrella: "Never has a Jewish person given me any justification for Israel - and neither should they. Do you justify your nation?"

No Paul, and neither could I, but I acknowledge the injustice suffered by the indigenous population. So for that matter does our nation. (Whether or not that translates into any sort of redress is, of course, another matter.) Colonisation has been going on since Homo sapiens left Africa; successive waves of different ethnicity have displaced (or wiped out) original populations, but can you see that happening in the modern era? To expect the dispossessed not to fight back flies in the face of reason. The manner of the creation of Israel was, and I suspect will, remain unique.

I would disapprove as strongly now as I did in 1967 of any attempt to dissolve Israel but, old lefty that I am, I would still seek redress of some description for the Palestinians.

Yes, the Rosenbergs would have been executed regardless of their name. They were found guilty of treason and the evidence as I remember was very strong.

"Do know a Jewish guy that once said Moses should've turned right instead of left - and with the current price of oil he's certainly not telling me anything I don't know."

Wry smile? Did you think of an alternative connotation?


... Scott Dunmore, for the (unintentional) offence I evidently caused.

Another lesson learned.

On mending fences and olive branches

Readily and happily accepted F Kendall and as it was unintentional, obviously I was too ready to take offence. I value your contributions here and did not easily get off side with you. 

Did I catch a glimpse of Fiona?

A study in shifting centuries

Scott Dunmore: "And why not, how can the dreadful fate that befell some six million souls justify the visitation on a helpless and hapless people that had inhabited what was then Palestinefor two thousand years by a bunch of terrorists and carpet baggers, no few of whom were not victims of the holocaust."

I've never once heard a Jew use this as a reason for Israel existing. I've never once heard a Jew ever use the holocaust as a reason for attaining something "extra". Though, I've heard this reason given by some of the Arab leadership (and delusional followers). I think it has something doing with equating Israel with Nazi Germany or some such. Maybe this plays well with the over eighties age demographic?

Of course the makings of present day Israel came into being long before 1947. The reasons for this you've probably answered yourself:

Perhaps the motivation of Britain in particular was to divest itself of a social problem of over a thousand years standing. That of having a minority, recalcitrant in that it refused to integrate fully with mainstream society, a source of envy and at times, the cause of social disruption.

Europe has always been, and still is, a class conscious society. Anti-Semitism is of course a part of being class consciousness (and I'm not referring to the yahoos in blog land who wouldn't understand class if it fell on them). Class Europe will always respect diversification - that is, until of course, it moves in next door.

The makings of present day Israel was as much to do with what we may refer to as the Republican old guard type (wanting Jewish competition shifted on) as anything else. Only in those days "society" didn't even pretend (unlike today) they gave a shit what Arabs thought (if they thought about Arabs at all).

The fact is I have been a member of that group all my life but did not develop Palestinian sympathies until my late thirties after starting to think for myself and accepting the reality of dispossession, an ongoing occurrence and the injustice of it all.

Of course back then Israel gained leftist support. Back then Israel was viewed as the underdog (and socialists love an underdog irrespective of the battle). Also in those days socialists (especially in Europe) were battling the old class forces. The present day alliance of old right, and socialist left on this issue reminds me of the alliance between feminists and religious anti-pornographers. You just know if the battle is ever won; the real battle only just begins.

My preference is for a single state. Regardless of the injustice suffered by the Palestinians there can be no denial of the state of Israel. There is no such thing as absolute justice; meted out it almost invariably creates other victims.

Eventually globalization will overwhelm the situation - as happened in Northern Ireland. Of course like all fights this one is as much economic as anything else. The desperation of the Palestinian cause in stopping young Palestinians leaving gives it away as much as anything else. The leaving isn't what they fear, it's the returning - more precisely the ideas returned with.

This is more like it

Thank you Paul for picking this up and broadening the debate. (Took your bloody time though, I’d given up on this a just another blog crying in the cyber wilderness.)

Maybe this plays well with the over eighties age demographic?

I’m sorry, Paul, I can’t answer for them, they’re virtually a generation removed from me.

I've never once heard a Jew use this as a reason for Israel existing. I've never once heard a Jew ever use the holocaust as a reason for attaining something "extra".

Neither have I but I don’t think I’ve met an Israeli citizen and if I did I’d be very wary about broaching the subject but the sentiment is out there regardless of the source. Did they ever give you a justification?

Republican old guard.

Genuinely perplexed, to whom do you refer?

Eventually globalisation will overwhelm the situation.

I’m not so sure it will continue for much longer as competition for oil is going to continue to drive fuel costs up and as has been said before, likely to see the decentralisation of industries as economies of scale are outweighed by transport costs. All conjecture of course but I’m inclined to that view.

The desperation of the Palestinian cause in stopping young Palestinians leaving gives it away as much as anything else. The leaving isn't what they fear, it's the returning - more precisely the ideas returned with.

I wasn’t aware that was happening but there could be another reason. In this little town the brightest and fairest leave for better opportunities. One can only wonder about the effect is has on the gene pool and I can imagine the Palestinians need every professional they can produce.

"Of course back then Israel gained leftist support. Back then Israel was viewed as the underdog (and socialists love an underdog irrespective of the battle)"

A tad dismissive and not entirely true. I couched it in different terms and I’m surprised you didn’t pick up on it. I wrote

One gains the impression that concerns for justice, fairness and equity is somehow the exclusive domain of left leaning libertarians.

Strangely there is a large element of truth in that statement, but why? This could be the basis for a blog by itself (but not from me.) It appears to me that the Right has adopted the notion that 'Of course in a perfect world such niceties are all well and good but in reality they just get in the way of business.' "

It is true however that there is a mindset in some of the left that those whose cause they champion can do no wrong. I know differently; there is evil on both sides of the conflict and the only reason for the far greater evil perpetrated by the Israelis is only their greater capability.

At the wrong end of the missiles

What a proud nation to have Bush as their supporter and blesser.

It has also been the end of reporting, after five years, by the SMH reporter on the scene, Ed O'Loughlin, and his farewell piece surprisingly didn't make the Sydney paper, just the Age.

One can read it in full here – Wars between worlds. It makes very sad reading and much is similar to the balanced view that Ian McDonald takes.

A second tank shell, fired several minutes after the first, sprayed would-be rescuers with a second cloud of three-centimetre "flechette" steel darts, killing 19-year-old Khalil Dogmoush and injuring several others, including freelance photographer Ashraf Abu Amra.

We didn't know all of this at the time, as we stood by the wreckage of Shana's vehicle. All we knew was that a press vehicle had been targeted minutes earlier, that we were standing beside that vehicle, fully exposed to a hillside where Israeli tanks were operating, and that an Israeli drone was whining overhead.

And we knew from long experience that, whatever had happened, the Israeli Defence Force would deny responsibility. This it duly did, claiming that its troops had fired only at armed militants who had attacked them at close range.

I have covered quite a few stories like this over the past 51/2 years, in Gaza and elsewhere. Since the present uprising began in 2000, close to 5000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli action, according to figures from the Israeli rights group B'tselem. Slightly more than 1000 Israelis were killed by Palestinians. In the first three months of this year, 11 Palestinians died for every Israeli civilian.

Eman al-Hams was a 13-year-old schoolgirl who was machine-gunned to death at point blank range by an Israeli officer, who admitted the act on army radio. The officer was subsequently acquitted, promoted and decorated.

Asma al-Mughair, 16, and her brother Ahmed, 13, were both shot in the head on the roof of their home in Rafah, which was in the sights of an Israeli sniper's nest, only 100 metres away. Seven members of the Ghaliya family were blown to bits while picnicking on a Gaza beach which Israeli artillery was shelling.

But if you Google any of the above names you will quickly learn - from armchair bloggers and Israeli Government spokespeople - that all of these stories are false, elaborate hoaxes concocted by anti-Semitic journalists to smear the state of Israel. Little wonder, then, that Israeli talkback was generally of the opinion that Fadel Shana got what he deserved.

And you can't help asking yourself, as you stand exposed on a roadway stained with blood and gristle and carbonised rubber, with a killer robot circling overhead, what would they say if it was you who'd been hit? For the average Middle East correspondent this is not a difficult question to answer.

Wow and only one person has ever been given the death penalty by Israeli courts, yet 5000 by their military.

What is really amazing is how the Palestinians from the Gaza Ghetto can go on, starved, bombed from planes, supersonic booms daily and nightly, tank shelling and tank destruction of anything they cherished or had worked for, no fishing, no picnicking on the beach, no electricity, no water, no sewer, no medicines. Why don't they just give up, give up their choice of leadership and accept control and then removal, ethnic cleansing? I guess the Warsaw Ghetto uprising is an inspiration to so many in times of such violent military oppression.

Warsaw itself also took on the Nazis at the end of WW2 as the Russians "arrived across the river". But the latter just watched on as the uprising was eventually crushed. Then the Bolshevik Soviets rolled in and wiped out the Nazis and took over Warsaw for themselves. This is what happens in history. People are helped if there is something in it for the helpers. Otherwise they are left to be murdered, as in Gaza.

We are so lucky that so far we have not been at the wrong end of an invading/occupying force. Perhaps if we had we would understand better others’ suffering.


Ah well.

Wrong end

Angela Ryan: "starved, bombed from planes, supersonic booms daily and nightly, tank shelling and tank destruction of anything they cherished."

You forget to mention getting blown up with their own suicide bombers, or being shot at by the masked members of Hamas. Very convenient.

The World Domination League

In 1964, EL Wisty and Spotty Muldoon formed the World Domination League, with aspirations to dominate the world by 1958. "We shall move about in people's rooms and say, 'Excuse me, we are the World Domination League. May we dominate you?' Then, if they say 'Get out,' of course we give up."

Their list of demands were:

  1. Total domination of the world by 1958.
  2. Domination of the astral spheres quite soon too.
  3. The finding of lovely ladies for Spotty Muldoon within the foreseeable future.
  4. Getting a nuclear arm to deter with.
  5. The bodily removal from this planet of C. P. Snow and Alan Freeman and their replacement with fine trees.
  6. Stopping the government from crawling up our pipes and listening to all we say.
  7. Training bees for uses against foreign powers, and so on.
  8. Elimination of spindly insects and encouragement of lovely little newts who dance about and are happy.
  9. E.L. Wisty for God.

I imagine Mr Wisty and Mr Putin sharing a park bench somewhere with Mr Ahmadinejad and Mr Cheney.

We will bury you before, oh I dunno? Say, 1970?

F Kendall: "When a right wing commentator on a right wing site challenges these longstanding US alliances, at the same time as the generals are saying that the US is losing military dominance, it sounds possibly like an interesting little rearrangement of the world as we know it."

Well, the thing is, the far right of the US political spectrum has always been critical of the Saudi dispensation, oil or no oil. All the more so since September 11. Remember Rudi ripping up that cheque before the face of that Saudi prince?

And generals of all nations are forever whinging about the "loss of military dominance". It wasn't that long ago Mr Putin's generals were arguing that Russia had lost her world standing as a military power.

 And take this from today's news:

"Russia's new President Dmitry Medvedev and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao have jointly denounced the United States's plans for a missile shield.

Mr Medvedev is on a two-day state visit to China and the leaders issued the joint statement issued after the two leaders met in the Chinese capital.

The statement said the creation of a global anti-missile defence system including it deployment in certain parts of the world would not contribute to maintaining strategic balance and stability.

The plan would hinder international arms control and non proliferation efforts as well as cooperation between states and regional stability.

The United States has proposed to site a radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland as part of a shield to defend against states it considers a threat, such as Iran and North Korea.

The Russians in particular are concerned about the steady expansion of NATO under US leadership into former Soviet client states, such as Poland and the Czech Republic.

Does that sound like a "waning star" to you? Or does it remind you of the same sort of dynamic that was unfolding in Europe from the mid-70s on?

By the way, that Sukhoi the Russians and Indians developed between them: I'd say India's involvement in the project probably means that that particular model's entire specification set and performance report is sitting on the desks of Western intelligence directors all across the NATO heartland.

An interesting rearrangement

Eliot Ramsey: "Terrorist violence declined around the world while popular backing for Al-Qaeda was slipping."

Well, that's good news.

It could have been matched, I suggest, by surveys that would show that fear of terrorism had declined, also.

But, in my prior post, I was speculating about a rearrangement of the world order ... e.g.:

the Saudi military regime depends on the U.S. military umbrella for its survival ...

which , as the Wall Street Journal says

"has provided the Saudis with a security blanket that puts this desert kingdom off limits to predators" and prevented Iran and Syria from turning Saudi Arabia into another Lebanon.

When a right wing commentator on a right wing site challenges these longstanding US alliances, at the same time as the generals are saying that the US is losing military dominance, it sounds possibly like an interesting little rearrangement of the world as we know it.

Hello S Dunmore.... "A rose by any other name... etc"

"F is so impersonal".

F is impersonal?

F is impersonal!

Do you, by any chance, work for a call centre?

Will smell as sweet

Not on this occasion. I don't think I can talk to you.

Fiona: Oh dear, Scott, F Kendall is a charming, intelligent Webdiarist and conversations with him/her are always worthwhile.


I don't think so Fiona , hence my coldness and what are you doing here? I thought you had departed for the NT.

Fiona: With the utmost respect, Scott, I beg to differ. I head north Sunday week (and can hardly wait).

Cold Warriors

Scott Dunmore: "It’s been known for a while now that the Sukhoi is operationally superior to anything the US has in the air..."

 Not everyone agrees, it seems:

"The Sukhoi Su-30 MKI (NATO reporting name Flanker-H) is a variant of the Sukhoi Su-30, jointly-developed by Russia's Sukhoi Corporation and India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the Indian Air Force. It is a heavy class, long-range, multi-role, air superiority fighter and strike fighter. It is often considered by many to be the best multi role fighter aircraft in service anywhere in the world after F-22 Raptor."


Scott Dunmore: "The Nazis had a lot to answer for; they taught their victims all too well."

One of the more reprehensible slurs against the victims of the Holocaust regularly trundled out by their modern day enemies is that the victims somehow "became" their own persecutors.

Apart from being a racist slander, it's boring. Really boring. To everyone, as the Human Security Brief 2007 report (below) demonstrates.

Couldn't agree more

Eliot: "One of the more reprehensible slurs against the victims of the Holocaust regularly trundled out by their modern day enemies is that the victims somehow "became" their own persecutors.

I don't consider that to be a slur, merely crap.

You appear to have a convoluted way of thinking and I'll thank you not to put words in my mouth.

"Apart from being a racist slander, it's boring. Really boring. To everyone, as the Human Security Brief 2007 report (below) demonstrates."

Couldn't see the report, not that it matters, read my previous posts and decide whether or not you want your head taken off. This isn't about racism, it's about mindsets.

I know you as a caring person; please get rid of prejudice and disposition. Take my words literally and try not to read more in them than was intended.

As to the capabilities of military hardware (the Euro Typhoon on a related link was interesting), let's hope that that it never comes down to a real test.

Oh, bugger. The terrorists are losing. Again.

F Kendall asks: "What will this mean for Israel, Saudi Arabia, and, Gottliebsen's concern, us?"

What will this mean..

 " Terrorist violence declined markedly around the world in 2007 while popular backing for al-Qaeda was slipping, according to the authors of a Canadian study based on US statistics."

"The report, Human Security Brief 2007 by lecturers at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, found terrorism fatalities were down by some 40 per cent in 2006 compared to 2001, and according to preliminary data, dropped even further in mid-2007....

"... The study pointed to more widespread and coordinated counterterrorism efforts, "bitter doctrinal infighting" within the global Islamist networks, and Muslims' rejection of terrorists' "indiscriminate violence, extremist ideology and harshly repressive policies" for the downswing."

"After looking at the results of polls carried out last year in the Arab and Muslim world, especially in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the report said that support for terrorism appeared to be waning."

"... the drop in popularity for al-Qaeda in the Arab and Muslim world was due to the rejection of extremist ideology, particularly after "the terror groups' gratuitous and indiscriminate violence against their co-religionists".

"By deeply alienating the very publics whose support is critical to their cause, the Islamists have become their own worst enemies and created conditions that will likely bring about their eventual demise."

Then on top of all that, it looks like Syria is about to throw in the towel.

Must have been due to that nuclear weapons development complex getting blown up last year...

The Wheel of Fortune turns...

Robert Gottliebsen on "America is about to lose its air superiority to the Russians and Chinese..." :

The U.S. has been able to conduct ground operations in the Middle East and elsewhere because their troops could not be attacked from the air.  That is about to change.

The U.S. generals illustrate the change with Taiwan - America could not defend Taiwan now, even if it wanted to.

What will this mean for Israel, Saudi Arabia, and, Gottliebsen's concern, us?

Who are the victims?

Geoff Pahoff: Who are the victims?
Given that in 2004 22 times more Palestinian children were killed than Israeli children, this category holds particular importance. We could find no basis on which to justify this inequality in coverage.
During the first year of the current uprising, 165 Israelis were killed by Palestinians and at least 549 Palestinians were killed by Israelis.3 The majority of those killed among both populations were civilians.

In its first year of coverage, we found that ABC reported on 305 Israeli deaths and 327 Palestinian deaths – 185% of Israeli deaths and 60% of Palestinian deaths.

CBS reported on 334 Israeli deaths and 296 Palestinian deaths – 202% of Israeli deaths and 54% of Palestinian deaths.

NBC reported on 227 Israeli deaths and 190 Palestinian deaths – 138% of Israeli deaths and 35% of Palestinian deaths.

Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that it is controversial. Indeed, many news sources are simultaneously accused of displaying diametrically opposed biases. If Americans Knew has undertaken this study with the aim of providing objective, verifiable analysis of coverage.

The Middle East is currently among the most volatile regions in the world. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the central issues of this region, and intimately related to the escalating regional violence we see today. American forces are presently deployed in one country in the region, and it is uncertain when they will be withdrawn. More US tax money goes to Israel than to any other nation; and more American money is sent to the Middle East than to the rest of the world combined. For all these reasons and more, it is essential that Americans receive full and accurate news coverage on Israel/Palestine.

Unfortunately, our findings indicate that this is not occurring. Our analysis reveals troubling patterns of omission and disparities in emphasis that, we feel, profoundly hamper the ability of viewers to understand this conflict.

Regardless of what you call it "ethnic cleansing" or "revenge for the holocaust" the real victims are the Palestinians and the statics show it. Israel is the aggressor and their tactics have displaced over 6.8 million Palestinians


In 2005, there were approximately 6.8 million Palestinian refugees and 400,000 internally displaced Palestinians representing 70 percent of the entire Palestinian population worldwide (9.7 million).

Most of the media bias in the West leans towards the Israelis The truth should be told don't you think?

No Pause In The Demonisation Of Israel

There is of course nothing new among the Israel-bashing slogans and chants published here. We've heard it a thousand times before. Afterall this stuff is intended to defeat honest discussion and intelligent debate -- not encourage it.

It's all here - the treatment of the Palestinian Arabs is/was "ethnic cleaning". But not that of Palestinian Jews of course. Or even a "form of genocide" for crying out loud. The Jews are "colonisers". The Arabs are their innocent victims. We even have that stale and sllghtly obscene travesty of history -- the Palestinians have been forced to pay for the Holocaust.

Therefore I am not intending to pick on Tony Phillips when I select this particular comment of his.

Around the time he was backing the Iraq war Christopher Hitchens made the “brave” comment that, as part of his desire to spread democracy, and as a quid pro quo for the invasion, Bush would place pressure on the Israeli government and military to start behaving like human beings in relation to the Palestinians. [My underlining] [Of course these are Tony's words, not Hitchens]

Human beings?

Is there any wonder why people like me are sick and tired of attempting discussion on this subject?

...we condemn anti-Semitism in all forms -- whether by those who openly question Israel's right to exist, or by others who quietly excuse them.

Bush's words but they are within any mainstream definition of antisemiitism. Do they give any reason for pause?

Barry Cohen in this morning's Australian.

Some of my best friends anti-Semitic


It's strange how anti-Semites rarely recognise their own prejudice. As a young and promising golfer I indicated to my boss, a charming and cultured man, that I was interested in joining his golf club. "Sorry, son, no Jews, jockeys or jailbirds." He couldn't recognise his responsibility as a human being to take a principled stand against anti-Semitism.


After World War II, and the attempt by the Nazis to destroy European Jewry, there was sympathy and support for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the mandated territories of Palestine. When the UN voted in November 1947 to create an Arab and a Jewish state, the neighbouring Arab countries attacked the Jewish state.

That Israel survived was first met with disbelief, then awe and finally anger. Those, particularly on the Left, who had wept openly for the murdered millions, started to resent Jews no longer being victims.

How dare Jews win?


As Israel repulsed attempts to destroy it, the anger of the liberal Left increased in intensity. As internationally famous lawyer Alan Dershowitz stated, "Throughout the world, from the chambers of the UN to the campuses of universities, Israel is singled out for condemnation, disinvestment, boycott and demonisation."

Anti-Semitism? "No! No!" cried Israel's critics. "We don't hate Jews, just Israel." For many, Israel became the pariah state. Anti-Semitism became acceptable again. The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman responded: "Criticising Israel is not anti-Semitic and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction, out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East, is anti-Semitic and not saying so is dishonest."

It's the double standards by which Israel is judged that incenses Jews and their supporters. [My emphasis]

Still no reason for pause?

No offense taken

No offense taken Geoff. You are right the words in question "behave like human beings" are mine not Hitchens, though I think they are a fair paraphrase of his point. On reflection I would be appalled if anyone thought I was suggesting Israelis were less than human beings, something that I suppose the quote could be taken to mean if taken out of context. Something you don't do. However the meaning was they are not behaving like human beings and I would take the opportunity to qualify that further and say it is only some who are not. But disturbingly those who are behaving this way appear to have official support even if it is often informal not formal. This makes the Israeli state culpable.

Thinking about why I put it the way I did I suspect it comes from my reading of how some Israeli people, including politicians and in the military, have taken to referring to Palestinians in terms that do remove their humanity and indeed sanction treating them like animals, leading to street phrases such as "they need to be beaten", "just shoot them" etc. I remember a report that had a settler furiously (that is in anger and therefore not necessarily presenting himself as he might actually be in a more rational moment) justifiying shooting Palestinian teenage rock-throwers. He was in this mindset and quoting the Torah to back it up into the bargain.

Such occurrences do not mean all Israelis could possibly be referred to as doing this, for all I know it's a very small minority. I also know it's not very surprising - in the circumstances such demonisation of the "other" is a common response by human beings generally. However denial of the others humanity is historically also an important prelude to being able to get a population to go along with the infliction of major human rights abuses.

As to Israel being held to a higher standard... The situation is awful and tragic but some of the honour and respect Israel must be given is precisely because a significant minority of its citizens do hold it to a higher standard. Those who stood up against Howard's concentration camps here also made it possible to keep a modicum of respect for this country.

And Israel should be held to a higher standard. Its people live in a liberal democracy of some wealth, they have far more freedom to act. Moreover much of Israel's s claim to special support from the West is that it argues that it is like us a liberal democracy but in a hostile non-democratic region, all of which is true.

However when it continues to support colonisation, when it continues to fire recklessly into civilian populations, and when it inflicts collective punishments it is moving a long way from precepts of liberal democracy and human rights and it can and should meet with both condemnation and a lack of support. All the more so when it has its "enemies" vastly outgunned and already in positions of weakness and supplication. Israel's claims to special treatment and understanding disappear when it ceases to act by the principle it and we espouse.

Hard list to port

F Kendall, (small favour, can you bring yourself to divulge your first name? F is so impersonal and I promise I won’t laugh.) It’s been known for a while now that the Sukhoi is operationally superior to anything the US has in the air and the Chinese it seems have some how got into bed with, of all people the Israeli Aircraft Industry to develop the J10 based on the IAI’s Lavi. Time perhaps to unhitch the wagon from a waning star?

Now Robert I haven’t seen or heard from for some time but he always came across as a prize twat. I won’t condemn him for that, maybe I wouldn’t scrub up so well in front of the camera but my expectation of him is ever coloured by amusement.

Richard, mate! I hope I’m not going to test your forbearance but at this point you will see the relevance of the title.

My demons age with me but they are still there and their clamour cannot be denied. I have to let them out for a run. (Back before dark boys and girls.) This has to be said.

Of all cultures, or “isms” if you prefer, Zionism is as racist as any. One of its tenets is that the historical Israelis and thereby the descendants were the chosen of God. To an atheist, such ludicrous conceit is laughable but my hilarity does not leave me any more kindly disposed to those who embrace such nonsense and consider "goyim" as "untermenschen". The choice of terminology is not accidental.

The Nazis had a lot to answer for; they taught their victims all too well.

Offense Taken

Tony Phillips, when you write garbage like this "Howard's concentration camps" you have no conception of what a a concentration camp was like. Then you continue with this: "when it continues to fire recklessly into civilian populations". Is this different to Palestinians firing rockets into Israeli towns?

The reason why Israel has its enemies vastly outgunned is that it is surrounded by people who have no respect for human life.

Mildly offended

Alan, I'm not sure whether to be amused or mildly offended but I'll stick with the former. . Have you considered a career as a talkback caller? I'm sorry but I'm not going to bite on such a tawdry provocation. However if you want to actually write a reasoned contribution I'll do you the courtesy of reading it.

Yours non offensively


Richard:  I've pulled a couple of remarks, Tony, as they overran certain guidelines.   Let's try and get this conversation back on an even keel.  

Bruised ego

Alan, don't you find me offensive? I'll just have to try harder next time.

Dunno about that

Buggered if I know, Geoff, how we're stifling conversation on the topic. I read on other sites how Webdiary is kowtowing to pro-Zionist pressures, including, apparently, attempting to appease your good self! Obviously we've failed.

No reason to pause

Geoff, it's a wonder you didn't cite me in light of my last post but then maybe you knew better.

Before I go any further let me make it known that anyone who accuses me of any racism had better be prepared to have their head taken off. To clarify, in my last post I stated that anti-semiticism was alive and well in England in my childhood. My parents were but as a child I only became aware of it at the age of 7 or 8. I was appalled, (I was a strange child and nothing has changed in that regard.) My youth leader, (we didn't describe them as such in those days) was ethnically Jewish, Charlie Jacobs, one of nature's gentlemen, and if there is an afterlife I'd hope to catch up with him. My neighbours two doors down were Jewish and though not close I was a friend to their son.

Simply, I couldn't give a monkey's if a person was black, white, brown or brindled; as long as I can enjoy a drink and a joke with them we can get along.

I recognise bad behaviour when I see it. I'm virulently opposed to England's involvement in Iraq. Does that make me anti-English? (I've called it England out of respect for the Scots, Welsh and Cornwalians who are different nations but lumbered with the association.) I am English (sort of).

Bugger statistics, (Lies, damn lies...) I'm giving you the opportunity to justify the cantonment of Palestinian communities and the effective expansion of Israel outside its mandated borders. When you can come up with a reasoned argument , I'll talk to you.

Alan, ferkrisake get more creative will you? 

Cheney's warmongering

Here's a little tease from a Washington Post piece from Apri 11 that I've just found (sorry if it's been linked here before):

Vice President Cheney went on right-wing talk radio yesterday with a dramatic new argument for preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons, casting the Iranian leadership as apocalyptic zealots who yearn for a nuclear conflagration.

Cheney also notably refused to comment about any recent conversations he may have had with Israeli leaders about the possibility of their bombing Iranian nuclear facilities. Some observers suspect Cheney of encouraging Israel to attack Iran as a proxy.

Conventional wisdom in Washington has it that Cheney and other supporters of military action against Iran were sidelined after a National Intelligence Estimate last November reported that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

It's a great piece.


Bombing Iran

Richard Tonkin, if Iran's nuclear installations have to be bombed in the future, you could not get anybody better than the Israelis to do it.

How Cheney knows what's in Iran

He kept the receipts, Alan. Stop laughing, I'm serious!


According to journalist Jason Leopold, sources at former Cheney company Halliburton allege that, as recently as January of 2005, Halliburton sold key components for a nuclear reactor to an Iranian oil development company. Leopold says his Halliburton sources have intimate knowledge of the business dealings of both Halliburton and Oriental Oil Kish, one of Iran's largest private oil companies.

Additionally, throughout 2004 and 2005, Halliburton worked closely with Cyrus Nasseri, the vice chairman of the board of directors of Iran-based Oriental Oil Kish, to develop oil projects in Iran. Nasseri is also a key member of Iran's nuclear development team. Nasseri was interrogated by Iranian authorities in late July 2005 for allegedly providing Halliburton with Iran's nuclear secrets. Iranian government officials charged Nasseri with accepting as much as $1 million in bribes from Halliburton for this information.

An old but suddenly more interesting piece

What do you reckon, Alan - capitalism gone mad?

Peace needs peacemakers and Bush isn't one

The speech is mostly state department diplomatic speak and read between the lines is just the usual unequivocal US support for Israel (underlying logic - reliable ally in the Middle East with important domestic US constituency and cheap at only $3 billion a year, much of which comes back in arms sales). However Bush has actually gone further than that as the speech progresses, really egging on the militant right. He does this via means of the nonsensical fundamentalist war on terror stuff in the middle that he links up to the “threats to Israel’s existence”. The net result is basically throwing away any demands for acceptable behaviour from Israel. If we add the ditzy "end of times" type views often ascribed to Bush the speech’s subtext is even more frightful.

In the end he is just repeating right wing Israeli propaganda, especially the magnificent psychological projection of the Palestinians wanting to drive Israel into the sea, complete with its deliberate undertones of a rerun of the Nazi holocaust, and a suggestion of this being in the offing at any moment. In fact of course it is Israel that keeps driving the locals off the land and pushing them into ghettos and virtual camps. The threat to Israel’s existence, as opposed to individual citizens who are in some danger, is actually more or less on a par with the threat to America’s existence (both should actually worry more about climate change). For Palestinians the threat to their existence and way of life is a continually evolving reality. Israeli settlement populations have almost tripled in the last 15 years and, Gaza withdrawal notwithstanding, the number of settlers continues to rise. What with settlement outposts, separation walls and separate infrastructure it is quite clear who the expansionist colonisers are and who is closer to committing a form of genocide.

There are peacemakers in the Middle East and some of the bravest and best are Israeli and Palestinian. And their task is massive one in the face of mindsets on both sides. If you look at what Bush is saying he is actually just issuing yet another (the same) call to war, peace through total victory. All wrapped in a child's conception about the truimph of good over evil that echoes that of the great 20th Century dictators.

Around the time he was backing the Iraq war Christopher Hitchens made the “brave” comment that, as part of his desire to spread democracy, and as a quid pro quo for the invasion, Bush would place pressure on the Israeli government and military to start behaving like human beings in relation to the Palestinians. This was to totally mistake Bush, he is neither a peacemaker nor a human rights and democracy advocate, just an ideological bimbo at the service of powerful interests. One whose life, it is now clear, is one that will mostly be remembered for initiating, justifying and sanctioning murder on a mass scale. 

Oh yes, and I'm sure that other fundamentalist murderer, Mr Bin Laden, will thank the Pres for the ideological ammunition. I know old Osama is really going to miss Bush when he's gone.

The good old days

Eliot Ramsey: "Well, that's not strictly true. The Soviets were able to supply the newly formed Israeli defense forces with weapons through the USSR's newly acquired Czechoslovak proxies, hoping to have a bob each way while publicly "denouncing" Zionism. I mean, there were lots of old socialists involved in setting up Israel."


Of course they were the days when "plucky little Israel" was a socialist dream, fighting against those fanatical religious Arab hordes. The days, unlike today, when your average socialist was a tough hard working sob. The days, unlike today, when your average socialist had a tough army full of tough (and they were whatever else people think of their beliefs) people both externally, and internally to look up to (USSR).

The fight against socialism would have been an interesting experience back then.

When a fair appraisal changed

One of the most influential, and therefore important, books of the 20thC was the populist, hyperbolic Exodus, circa 1960. An immensely popular book, one of the first blockbusters, at a time when TV was scarce, and people read more. How could one read that and not applaud those extraordinary, brave, smart, sexy, committed, idealistic young people with their guns, rockets or whatever, used only to defend themselves? And, "everyone" read it. In my experience, it changed public opinion vastly.

For decades after, young people from around the world had Israel on their tourist itinerary, to experience, witness, and work in kibbutz ... although they had largely changed their nature in the meantime, so I'm told, as all the smart people went off to make their money in the cities.

Still, it was an extraordinarily successful bit of propaganda, which I think gave people in the west a mental set to be pro-Israel that still lingers.

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