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Netanyahu, A Complete Failure.

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I really should be blogging on other subjects, the repression in Bahrain, murder in Syria and why does Ed Miliband look like such a weak leader, etc

From the corner of my eye I have been following events in the West Bank and the progress towards Palestinian statehood, which I fully support.

Along with that has been my bemusement at the Israeli government response: incoherent, belligerent and inept.

Fortunately, I find I am not the only one that has noticed Benjamin Netanyahu’s complete failure to tackle these issues politically, in any mature way. Instead Netanyahu stands like a modern King Canute, arguing against the inevitable in a sour and unhelpful fashion.

Snoopy sees the problem as well:

“The last time that the skies smiled at Binyamin Netanyahu was, probably, when Shimon Peres asked him to form the next government, after Tzipi Livni had despaired of her chances to win the support of the Knesset majority.

Since that day it all went downhill for him. Overtaken by the events, outmaneuvered on the right and (less) on the left by his frisky coalition partners, Bibi seems to be continuously surprised by what is happening in the world in general and in the Middle East in particular. Since his Bar Ilan speech, where Bibi announced his support for two state solution, which in fact wasn’t the first time for an Israeli leader (Sharon has already done it) and was made under pressure coming loud and clear from the White House, Bibi is drifting with the flow of the current events, all his moves no more than feeble responses to the outside irritants.

So far the Palestinian leadership appears to be much more adept and sophisticated in manipulating the world’s public opinion as well as in gaining the all around political and diplomatic support. The growing number of the governments that recognized the Palestinian state is the best indication of the failure of Bibi’s “wait and respond” behavior. ” [My emphasis.]

PS: Readers will remember I am no fan of Netanyahu or his racist ministers.

Update 1: Jeff Goldberg ponders the incredibility stupid notion of an Israeli preemptive strike on Iran’s nukes:

“I asked Alon Pinkas, a former diplomat and military correspondent, what he thought of Dagan’s speech. He said: “Dagan believes that high-technology-based covert operations are far more effective and carry significantly less risk in terms of possible ramifications and consequences than an air strike.” He went on, “He is also genuinely warning against what he thinks would be a reckless military action underlined more by political expediency than by a cost-effective analysis.” “

Hamas, Netanyahu And The Middle East.

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What to make of the Middle East?

On the one hand, there is the natural desire of people to throw off their dictators.

Then on the other, bloody dictators clinging to power from Libya to Bahrain, using military might as they see fit, murdering willy-nilly. In part the West rightly condemns Gaddafi’s brutality, but then the EU commissioner defends state induced violence in Bahrain.

In Gaza, Islamic Jihad and Hamas deliberately launch mortars and rockets into Israel’s towns, hoping to kill civilians.

In response, the Netanyahu government plays Hamas’s game sending in planes and tanks.

In Jerusalem a bomb deliberately target civilians, ordinary Israelis, killing one and injuring many.

Back in Gaza, Hamas relish an opportunity to literally play the martyr and the stupid Netanyahu government obliges.

Hamas had been side tracked by events around the Middle East, their brutal rule of the Gaza Strip was made all the more obvious as they bludgeoned protesters for the human rights recently.

As a deflection they started poking Israel with a stick, knowing full well that the Netanyahu government would respond with military force and not a moment’s thought for the consequences, either politically or to ordinary Palestinians.

The Netanyahu government has shown itself incredibly inept and it is hard to point to any significant policy achievement that they have had in the last few years, if any. However, Hamas loves the Netanyahu government, for all their predictability, for all their political clumsiness and their diminishing political capital. If Hamas were left to their own devices they would continue to brutalise Palestinians without reproach, human rights within the Gaza Strip are negligible, speak out and you risk imprisonment, torture or worse. Hamas will brook no dissent.

Still, Hamas is full of canny political operatives, they know how to exploit a political situation and are comparatively good at PR, in stark contrast to the Netanyahu government that throws away chances and alienates allies, almost without a care in the world.

Meanwhile, the Bashar al-Assad dictatorship kills another 15+, those trying to demand basic human rights in Syria.

On top of that in Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh clings on to power and invokes emergency powers.

Egyptian women protesters forced to take ‘virginity tests’.

Israel’s Interior Ministry stupidly wants deport Munther Fahmi.

(H/T: Linda Grant)

Netanyahu And Gaza.

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When I think of the Netanyahu government, I think of missed opportunities and of his previous term in office which resulted in less than nothing happening.

Netanyahu has always struck me as a rather incomplete politician, seemingly smooth on the surface, but riddled with indecision, political incompetence and the need to seem like a strongman.

I suppose that better explains the recent incursions into Gaza, because I can’t think of any meaningful reason why they should occur.

Firstly, they don’t stop the missiles.

Secondly, they normally lead to wasted deaths, Palestinian civilians, Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers.

Thirdly, they only achieve the goal of stirring the pot, nothing more, except possibly providing Hamas with more opportunities to fire missiles at Israeli civilians.

Fourthly, Hamas loved these nonsensical incursions as they provide plenty of propaganda and bolster support for Hamas, but don’t do much more.

All in all negative and unproductive, which seems to me to sum up Netanyahu’s achievements.

Snoopy has more on Bibi.

Written by modernityblog

27/03/2010 at 03:24

Meanwhile In Israel.

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People across the Middle East are annoyed at their rulers and Israelis are no exception, Dissent explains why:

“WHAT IS happening in Israel? As usual, no one expected, no one predicted, the massive uprising of Israel’s young people—joined last Saturday night by large numbers, amazing numbers, of their parents and grandparents. What started as a demand for affordable housing has turned into something much bigger. I can only watch, and cheer, and try to figure out what’s going on. Here are four “takes” on the uprising.
…”

Update 1: I had, naturally, assumed that the Guardian coverage of these events, which started about three weeks, would be given the expected negative spin, but the coverage is fairly good, that is in between non-stories and piffle like this, Israeli spy claims over Christchurch earthquake and Israeli orchestra to perform Wagner in Germany at Bayreuth opera festival.

All the same rather surprising, given the Guardian’s clear anti-Israeli bias.

Israelis set up tent cities in protest at housing costs.

Israelis take to tents in housing protest – in pictures.

Government alarm at citizens’ revolt as tent protests spread.

Update 2: Lisa Goldman had been following things and saw this:

Update 3: According to the JC, Netanyahu forms panel to tackle tent city unrest.

Politicians across the world are so similar, major problems, form a committee, fob people off. I can’t see that working with younger Israelis.

Written by modernityblog

09/08/2011 at 02:17

Leaders’ Judgment?

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I wanted to cover more of events in Syra and Yemen, but this piece in the New York Times is very relevant.

So I am not the only one with a low opinion of Binyamin Netanyahu:

“Journalists recalled that Mr. Dagan, who had refused contact with the media during his time in office, called a news briefing the last week of his tenure and laid out his concerns about an attack on Iran. But military censorship prevented his words from being reported.

“Dagan wanted to send a message to the Israeli public, but the censors stopped him,” Ronen Bergman of the newspaper Yediot Aharonot said by telephone. “So now that he is out of office he is going over the heads of the censors by speaking publicly.”

Mr. Dagan’s public and critical comments, at the age of 66 and after a long and widely admired career, have shaken the political establishment. The prime minister’s office declined requests for a response, although ministers have attacked Mr. Dagan. He has also found an echo among the nation’s commentators who have been ringing similar alarms.

“It’s not the Iranians or the Palestinians who are keeping Dagan awake at night but Israel’s leadership,” Ari Shavit asserted on the front page of the newspaper Haaretz on Friday.

“He does not trust the judgment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.”

It was Mr. Shavit who interviewed Mr. Dagan on stage at Tel Aviv University this week. And while Haaretz is the home of the country’s left wing, Mr. Shavit is more of a centrist.

“Dagan is really worried about September,” Mr. Shavit said in a telephone interview, referring to the month when the Palestinians are expected to ask the United Nations General Assembly to recognize their state within the 1967 border lines. The resolution is expected to pass and to bring new forms of international pressure on Israel. “He is afraid that Israel’s isolation will cause its leaders to take reckless action against Iran,” he said.

Nahum Barnea, a commentator for Yediot Aharonot, wrote on Friday that Mr. Dagan was not alone. Naming the other retired security chiefs and adding Amos Yadlin, who recently retired as chief of military intelligence, Mr. Barnea said that they shared Mr. Dagan’s criticism.

“This is not a military junta that has conspired against the elected leadership,” Mr. Barnea wrote. “These are people who, through their positions, were exposed to the state’s most closely guarded secrets and participated in the most intimate discussions with the prime minister and the defense minister. It is not so much that their opinion is important as civilians; their testimony is important as people who were there. And their testimony is troubling.”

This concern was backed by a former Mossad official, Gad Shimron, who spoke Friday on Israel Radio.

Mr. Shimron said: “I want everyone to pay attention to the fact that the three tribal elders, Ashkenazi, Diskin and Dagan, within a very short time, are all telling the people of Israel: take note, something is going on that we couldn’t talk about until now, and now we are talking about it. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, and that is the decision-making process. The leadership makes fiery statements, we stepped on the brakes, we are no longer there and we don’t know what will happen. And that’s why we are saying this aloud.” “

Update 1: Letters From a Young Contrarian does a great job, The Arab Spring into Summer: Today’s Events.

Update 2: Not forgetting Left Foot Forward’s Arab Spring latest: Murder, civil war and motor racing.

Assorted Middle East.

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Saudi troops in Bahrain were probably trained by the British or so the Torygraph says.

IAEA worried about Iran’s enrichment programme and the past goings-on in Syria.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s activities have focused the limelight on politicians and with reason.

Are their strains within the Hamas leadership? Reuters seems to think so.

Ahmadinejad going shortly? Not before time.

Insider trading? Members of Congress, strangely do very well in their dealings.

Netanyahu, a diplomatic failure? He’s very popular, all of 37% !

Saudi’s rulers try to stop revolutions in the Middle East.

Lessons From Tahrir Sq.

Written by modernityblog

26/05/2011 at 01:57

Thoughts On The Middle East.

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Blake Hounshell looks at events in the Middle East in a critical way, and I think he’s correct, that Netanyahu will do nothing. Any halfway competent statesman would realise this is an opportunity to grasp, but not Netanyahu. The only quality he has an abundance is mediocrity, which will doom Israelis and Palestinians to more misery:

“Even more awkward for the United States, Netanyahu is due to visit Washington in a few days in what will likely be one long exposition of the words, “I told you so.” If he is smart, he will announce a serious plan for peace and get out ahead of the most serious threat to Israel’s security since the 1973 war. If he is true to form, he will use the opportunity to double down on his argument for the status quo.

President Obama has planned two speeches for the coming week: one for Thursday, billed as a disquisition on the Arab Spring, and another an address at the AIPAC conference. With George Mitchell’s resignation, the peace process is officially dead. The Arab street now understands its power — people clearly aren’t going to sit around quietly waiting until September for the U.N. General Assembly to pass a resolution recognizing a Palestinian state. The BDS movement (“boycott, divestment, sanctions”) is gaining steam internationally. There will be more marches, more flotillas, more escalation, more senseless deaths.

Avigdor Lieberman: Fraud, Money Laundering And More.

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Mostly, when blogging I try not to concentrate on personalities, but in the case of Avigdor Lieberman I will make an exception.

Lieberman is obnoxious, xenophobic and an authoritarian politician.

The fact that he will be indicted shortly should surprise no one.

Lieberman seems fairly representative of much of the Israeli political class, useless, self absorbed and only interested in short-term personal and political goals.

Certainly it is perfectly possible to blame most of this on the absurd implementation of proportional representation within Israel, where small or extremist parties, such as Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, have a disproportionate influence, but there is more to it than that.

Nowadays, coalitions in Israel often function by the lowest political common denominator, only what can be pushed through without upsetting minority or extremist parties goes ahead, creating a wider political lethargy and an incredibly conservative approach to running a country.

We can see part of this problem in the continued allegations of corruption against leading Israeli politicians which have come about in the last few decades.

We should not forget that Netanyahu’s first premiership was brought to a close when there was a corruption investigation into him and his wife’s dealings. Subsequently, charges were dropped for the lack of evidence.

A previous PM, Ehud Olmert was under investigation for corruption for years, which led to him stepping down. Readers probably know of many more examples.

Haaretz has more:

“Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein is expected to announce Monday or Tuesday that he intends on filing an indictment against Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on charges of fraud, money laundering, and breach of trust.

A draft indictment will be handed to Lieberman’s attorneys and he will be granted the right to a hearing to try to prevent the indictment.

Over the past several weeks, Weinstein has been refining the wording of the draft indictment, which was the subject of much debate among those composing the document.

The discussion between the State Prosecution and the Attorney General regarding Lieberman’s case continued for more than a year and a half, since the head of the police investigations and intelligence division, Yoav Segalovich, recommended putting Lieberman on trial.

Segalovich recommended indicting Lieberman on charges of bribery, fraud, money laundering, breach of trust, witness harassment, and obstruction of justice.

Police believe that he received more than NIS 10 million in bribes from businessmen including Martin Schlaff and Michael Chernoy. The money was allegedly laundered via a series of shell companies and fictitious bank accounts overseas.

The police also recommended indicting Lieberman for breach of trust in the case of Israel’s former ambassador to Belarus, Ze’ev Ben Aryeh, who showed Lieberman secret documents from the investigation against Lieberman. “

I do wish that Israelis would follow the example of others in the Middle East and throw out their useless and rotten political leaders.

Unrealistic Goldstone

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Getting away is lovely but it means you have to do a lot of reading on your return and one piece that I saw was Engage’s Richard Goldstone now says Israel was not guilty of targetting civilians in Gaza.

I thought Operation Cast Lead was a BIG mistake, and the Netanyahu government culpable by neglect and mismanagement, but the article shows a certain degree of naivete, if not stupidity, that Richard Goldstone still holds onto:

“Some have charged that the process we followed did not live up to judicial standards. To be clear: Our mission was in no way a judicial or even quasi-judicial proceeding. We did not investigate criminal conduct on the part of any individual in Israel, Gaza or the West Bank. We made our recommendations based on the record before us, which unfortunately did not include any evidence provided by the Israeli government. Indeed, our main recommendation was for each party to investigate, transparently and in good faith, the incidents referred to in our report. McGowan Davis has found that Israel has done this to a significant degree; Hamas has done nothing.

Some have suggested that it was absurd to expect Hamas, an organization that has a policy to destroy the state of Israel, to investigate what we said were serious war crimes. It was my hope, even if unrealistic, that Hamas would do so, especially if Israel conducted its own investigations. At minimum I hoped that in the face of a clear finding that its members were committing serious war crimes, Hamas would curtail its attacks. Sadly, that has not been the case. Hundreds more rockets and mortar rounds have been directed at civilian targets in southern Israel. That comparatively few Israelis have been killed by the unlawful rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza in no way minimizes the criminality. The U.N. Human Rights Council should condemn these heinous acts in the strongest terms.

In the end, asking Hamas to investigate may have been a mistaken enterprise. So, too, the Human Rights Council should condemn the inexcusable and cold-blooded recent slaughter of a young Israeli couple and three of their small children in their beds.”

Written by modernityblog

05/04/2011 at 18:25

Ali Abdullah Saleh And Conspiracy Theories.

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In the last few weeks there has been a fair few examples of anti-Jewish racism invoked during the revolts in the Middle East, but not only that, Mubarak’s regime deliberately put it about that foreign journalists were “Zionist” spies and induce their supporters to attack the media accordingly.

The BBC’s John Simpson experienced this firsthand.

Now we have the ruler of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, doing his part to invoke conspiracy theories, AFP reports:

“Huge crowds poured into the centre of the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Tuesday in response to an opposition call for a mass rally against President Ali Abdullah, in power since 1978, drawing angry accusations from the veteran leader that it was all the work of Israel and the United States.

“The people want Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave,” the protesters chanted. “The people want to overthrow the regime.”

Saleh hit back, in an address to university professors at Sanaa University. “The events from Tunisia to Oman are a storm orchestrated from Tel Aviv and and under Washington’s supervision,” he said.

“What is taking place on Yemen’s streets is just a copycat attempt.”

Update 1: Yahoo news goes into more detail:

“However, in a speech to about 500 students and academics at Sanaa University, Saleh appeared to be turning on his ally, claiming the U.S., along with Israel, is behind the protest movement.

“I am going to reveal a secret,” he said. “There is an operations room in Tel Aviv with the aim of destabilizing the Arab world. The operations room is in Tel Aviv and run by the White House,” he said.

He said opposition figures meet regularly with the U.S. ambassador in Sanaa to coordinate efforts.

“Regrettably those (opposition figures) are sitting day and night with the American ambassador where they hand him reports and he gives them instructions,” Saleh alleged.

“The Americans also talk with the government officials about this (the protests), but they tell them `allow these people to demonstrate in the streets’,” Saleh said. “We say that this is a Zionist agenda.”

The wave of political unrest sweeping across the Arab world is a “conspiracy that serves Israel and the Zionists,” he added. “

Update 1: Kellie has provided a link to conspiracy theories at Al Jazzeera, Google translated:

“Israeli source revealed information about parking and Israeli security institution – and with the authorization of the Israeli government – of sending groups of mercenaries Africans to Libya for the attack on the rebels who took nearly two weeks ago in most parts of the country, demanding to drop the system, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi .

The source – a reporter for Yediot Ahronot on condition of anonymity – that the security leaks that Israel views the Libyan Revolution from the perspective of strategic security, and considers that the fall of the Gaddafi regime would open the door to the “Islamic regime” in Libya.

The source reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman have taken in a tripartite meeting on February 18 a resolution last recruiting African mercenaries fighting alongside al-Qadhafi

Islamic system

Confirmed leaks security, the meeting approved a request from Gen. Yisrael Ziv – the director of the security consulting “Global CSI T” which is active in many African countries – developed sets mercenary paramilitary Guinea, Nigeria, Chad and Central African Republic, Mali, Senegal and members of the rebel movements in In the Darfur region of southern Sudan at the disposal of Libyan intelligence official, Abdallah al-Sanusi.

According to the same source has confirmed the military intelligence chief Gen. Aviv Kokhvi during the meeting – also attended by Chairman of the Division of North Africa in the Foreign Shalom Cohen – The follow-up and accurate monitoring penetrans showed that the Revolution of Libya is dominated by “character of religious and fundamentalist,” and that the Muslim Brotherhood have a hand the upper, particularly in eastern Libya, and specifically the city of Benghazi .

He Kokhvi that if the regime fell, the Gaddafi alternative system would be “Islamic system”, which provides strategic depth of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Jordan and Sudan.

Revealed that the falsity of the leaks and Gen. Yossi Koprsawr and former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, former Israeli Ambassador in Paris is located in the breeze Zueli Senegal met with leaders of the Sanusi Libyan pro-Gaddafi at a military base in the Chadian capital N’djamena.

Billions of dollars

At this meeting View Sanusi on the falsity of his institution to provide security – that possession of an African military groups and units of military advisers and trainers – Libyan Arab Jamahiriya groups of members of this squad specially trained to fight in civil wars.

In return, Libya paid to the Israeli establishment to five billion dollars can be increased if the mercenaries proved their effectiveness in addressing the rebels Libyans.

It was also agreed on the transfer of these groups of African armed forces to Chad, then there is an air-borne from Libyan or Chadian into several regions and cities of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, such as the Sabha in the south and Tripoli in the center and walked in the north.

The same source said that the number of members of these groups amounted to fifty thousand equipped with a variety of weapons from the Russian-made and American, British and Israeli, including Kalashnikov rifles, “Tavor” developed and improved in Israel

Pledges to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

According to the source itself, the party has given guarantees Libyan Foundation grant, “Global CSI T” – after the end of the revolution against Gaddafi – concessions in the field of exploration, extraction and export of Libyan oil and gas fields in several areas Sabha, Tobruk, Benghazi and Kufra.

Libyans also pledged to conclude a contract with the Israeli establishment active in the formation of military and security forces, preparation and training in Africa and Latin America, the Caucasus, in order to rebuild the forces and Libyan security bodies.

The Libyan side promised to allow the institution as well as the Israeli activity in the security field in Libya and the freedom to work from Libya for the activity in a number of neighboring countries, especially in the Darfur region of western Sudan, Niger and northern Chad. “

Written by modernityblog

01/03/2011 at 15:12

Brendon Lee O’Connell, Anti-Zionist Or Plain Racist?

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I can’t make my mind up about the Australian racist, Brendon Lee O’Connell:

“A man who posted a video of himself on the internet in which he refers to Judaism as a “satanic death cult” has been found guilty of six of the seven racial harassment charges brought against him.

Brendan Lee O’Connell has been found guilty of publishing racist material online after a two week trial which was centred around a video he made of himself arguing with Jewish man Stanley Keyser at a Friends of Palestine protest against the sale of Israeli oranges at a South Perth supermarket in 2009.

In the video O’Connell calls Jewish people racist and homicidal.

Written words super imposed over the footage include: “See how the lies roll off the Judiac’s tongue?” when Mr Keyser is speaking.

After the incident, which ends with O’Connell yelling at Mr Keyser to “get a good Jewish lawyer,” he went to the Bell Tower and filmed himself calling Judaism a “death cult.”

The jury took seven hours to reach the verdict of guilty on all but one of the seven charges which related to the video of the argument, the argument itself, and several blog posts. “

Is he just an Anti-Zionist or a Far Right bigot?

You might think that it would be easy to determine which is which.

I would hope that there should be clear blue water between Anti-Zionists and Far Right bigotry, but it’s not so clean cut when you examine the issues and people around the Brendan O’Connell case.

Firstly, he was arrested at a Friends of Palestine event against Israeli oranges in Perth.

Secondly, I had looked for a notice or something on the web, supposing that Friends of Palestine in West Australia would want to distance themselves from O’Connell, and only if you really, really search can you find something:

“Given members of Friends of Palestine WA are shown and identified in the video in question, we feel it is incumbent on you to point out to your readers that we as an organisation cannot be held responsible for the racist views expressed by a rogue individual who unfortunately happened to attend one of our protests.

Furthermore, we feel it is incumbent on you to make it known to your readers that we are unequivocally opposed to the vile racist views expressed by Mr O’Connell in his execrable video.”

That’s after the event, and Friends of Palestine in West Australia have an unforgivable taste for that nasty racist play, Seven Jewish Children.

Thirdly, the picture is further confused when you look at O’Connell’s main supporter, Jeff Kerr’s MySpace page, you see plenty of “anti-Zionist links”, for example, the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, James Petras, and palestineremembered.com

Fourthly, there is nothing on the main Australians for Palestine site, but there is a certain shared taste for some web material, Alan Hart’s, the well known racist, Steve Lendman, Jonathan Cook and Deir Yassin Remembered (which readers will remember is run by a Holocaust denier, Daniel A. McGowan).

Fifthly, Brendon O’Connell’s blogger profile suggests he likes a few racist sites, Michael Hoffman’s Revisionist Review and Whitelaw Towers, a White supremacists blog with a love of the Blood and Honour neo-Nazis.

He certainly gets a lot of support from the Far Right, and his friend’s main blog is littered with a mixture of “anti-Zionist” and Far Right links, e.g. Zundelsite and Adelaide Institute. Although, again, Alan Hart and Gilad Atzmon get a look in. Even Fred Toben, infamous Holocaust denier, lends O’Connell his support too.

Sixthly, scanning the earlier entries of O’Connell’s blog, before he passed it over to Jeff Kerr, it is clear he’s not playing with a full pack of cards.

O’Connell was an occasional poster on Indymedia, Perth for years. His posts and material there suggests that he’s clearly on the Far Right and that his antisemitic views are well known.

Finally, as J-Wire reports:

“An eye witness in Perth’s Distric Court told J-Wire: “O’Connell’s reaction was to shout ‘Free Palestine and Free Iraq and he said ‘Netanyahu will appear in the dock one day’.”

So it seems probable that Brendon O’Connell was a Far Right provocateur, who was swept along in all of the Anti-Zionist activities that went on. I can’t be 100% sure as there’s a lot of material to surf through, but that seems likely.

I do find it surprising that Anti-Zionists in Australia did not make more of an effort to distance themselves from O’Connell, and that they and his Far Right supporters often share a similar taste in reading material.

Irrespective of who Brendon O’Connell is and what weird racist views he holds, it is less than coincidental that outpourings of animus towards Israelis are frequently linked to anti-Jewish racism.

So often the two go hand in hand.

Maybe Australian Anti-Zionists should reflect on that fact.

PS: I would like to apologise to readers for including in some links to questionable sites, this was unavoidable in this instance.

Update 1: I should remind, those neo-Nazis, thickos and their mates (yes, you know who you are, eh ? Bill In Ohio), that I do not post your racist filth, as per my comments policy. Try reading it, if you can. Your filth will remain confined to the moderation queue.

Gilad Shalit.

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Despite a lot of arm waving concerning human rights in bits of the Middle East there isn’t much real concern in the West for the fate of Gilad Shalit.

Gilad Shalit was, you will remember, kidnapped four years ago.

Gilad Shalit is now held by Hamas.

Gilad Shalit is not allowed access to any visitors or even the Red Cross, contrary to all accepted norms of human rights and the Geneva conventions.

Gilad Shalit is locked up in some hole by Hamas and has been for years, not that you will hear much of that in the Western media.

Gilad Shalit banner

Here’s some of my previous posts on this topic:

Ingrid Betancourt and Gilad Shalit

1,195 Days – Compare and Contrast

Gilad Shalit – One Forgotten Israeli

That’s Alright, Keep Your Guns

Update 1: HRW apparently has commented on Gilad Shalit, but will the issues surrounding he is kidnapped, imprisonment and being held incommunicado be dealt with in the Western media? I somehow doubt it, but HRW’s contribution is welcome:

“JERUSALEM — Human Rights Watch on Friday demanded that Hamas end its “cruel and inhuman treatment” of Gilad Shalit as Israel marked the fourth anniversary of the soldier’s captivity at the hands of the Islamist movement.

“Hamas authorities are violating the laws of war by refusing to allow Shalit to correspond with his family,” the New York-based group HRW said, adding that the young soldier’s prolonged incommunicado detention “may amount to torture.”

Thousands of yellow balloons were to be released across Israel for the anniversary, a candle-lighting ceremony was planned in Tel Aviv and a major newspaper distributed yellow ribbons to its readers.

Amid growing public backing in Israel for a prisoner exchange deal with the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, demonstrations of support for Shalit also have been held in several capitals this week, including Rome and Paris.

On Sunday, the Shalit family accompanied by thousands of supporters will set off on a march from their home in northern Israel to Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence, a distance of about 200 kilometres (120 miles.)

Shalit, then a 19-year-old corporal, was captured by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups in a deadly cross-border raid from the Gaza Strip on June 25, 2006.

He is believed to be held in Hamas-ruled Gaza, where he has had no contact with his family or the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“Regardless of Hamas?s grievances against Israel, there are no grounds to cut Shalit off completely from his family,” HRW said.

“Hamas authorities in Gaza should immediately end the cruel and inhuman treatment of Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit,” it said.

The Islamist movement has said allowing outside access to Shalit could reveal his location to Israel.

HRW pointed out that Israel has prevented detainees from the Gaza Strip from having family visits since Hamas seized power in the Palestinian territory in 2007.

They are however allowed periodic Red Cross visits.

Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip four years ago a bid to force Hamas to release Shalit, but eased the sanctions this week amid international pressure fuelled by a deadly commando raid on an Gaza-bound activist aid flotilla.

Negotiations for a prisoner swap, mediated by Egypt and Turkey, have hit a brick wall.

Hamas wants Israel to release hundreds of prisoners, including several top militants responsible for killing scores of Israelis, in exchange for Shalit — a price the Jewish state has been reluctant to pay.

A majority of Israelis are in favour of such a swap, according to a poll published by the Yediot Aharonot daily on Friday.

Seventy-two percent said yes when asked if they would support “a prisoner exchange deal in which hundreds of terrorists, including murderers, are released in exchange for Gilad Shalit.” “

Written by modernityblog

25/06/2010 at 01:05

Far Right And Placards.

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Over at Demotix there is a peculiar placard being held by someone who I can only suppose is from the Far Right, as he seems to believe in the Offal Libel, that Israelis harvest the organs from dead Palestinians. Unbelievable.

Far Right crank and demented placard.

Far Right crank and demented placard.

(HT: HP)

Written by modernityblog

26/08/2009 at 23:45

Bigotry In The Press.

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The New Statesman was, at one point in time, considered almost obligatory reading for anyone interested in politics or current affairs in Britain, but has suffered more recently from some internal turmoil and staffing changes.

A rather predictable article has just been published called, “Does Israel “cause” anti-Semitism?”

The author makes it very clear that he thinks antisemitism is wrong, bravo, but then proceeds with a time honoured, or time worn argument, that antisemitism is actually related to the behaviour of Israelis:

“But I do find it both tragic and ironic that the state of Israel – created ostensibly to protect Jews from across the world from hatred, prejudice and violence – through its actions today, and through its self-proclaimed role as the leader and home of world Jewry, provokes such awful anti-Semitic attacks against diaspora Jews who have nothing to do with the actions of the IDF or the policies of Netanyahu, Olmert and Sharon. “

Astute readers will remember this argument being trotted out by every bigot under the sun in various guises, for example, “Jews wouldn’t get attacked if they didn’t act as they did”, etc.

It is not a very pretty or coherent argument for what would be Britain’s premier weekly political journal.

From the comments Dave Rich of CST rightly argues:

“Let me explain some of the basic dynamics of hate crime. The people who are primarily responsible for racist hate crimes are the racists who perpetrate them; the “cause” is their bigotry and hatred for a chosen ‘other’.

Different racists respond to different stimuli: so, for instance, when Prince Harry wore a Nazi uniform a few years ago, or when Ken Livingstone was censured for his “concentration camp” comments, those events also acted as triggers for short-term surges in antisemitic incidents, but the incidents they triggered were of a different nature, and seemingly from different types of perpetrators, than the incidents triggered by the Israel/Hamas war in Gaza in January of this year.

In all cases, though, there is a very big difference between the stimulus, or trigger, and the “cause”. You would not write an article lamenting that fact that Muslim immigration “caused” the recent arson attack on the Luton Islamic Centre, or any of the other Islamophobic attacks that have been in the news recently, and rightly so. Don’t make excuses for racists, and don’t use racism as an excuse to score political points. It’s demeaning and not something the NS, of all journals, should be doing.

Most people who watched events in Gaza, even most of those who got angry about what Israel did, did not then go out and attack or abuse Jews. There is no direct cause and effect between the two. That is why CST’s reports talk of the response to events in Gaza being the trigger for incidents, rather than simply the events in Gaza themselves. “

It is a shame that a periodical, such as the New Statesman, is reduced to regurgitating bigotry, and I finally remember why I ceased buying it.

Written by modernityblog

27/07/2009 at 20:38

A Tablet For The BNP.

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The Tablet has an informative article on the BNP by Ben Cohen:

“Poor Nick Griffin. Every time the leader of the British National Party thinks he’s gained respectability, something comes along to spoil it. In the European parliament elections two weeks ago, the BNP won two seats. Days later, James von Brunn murdered a security guard in an assault on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and it quickly emerged that the aging white supremacist had attended meetings of the BNP’s American Friends branch. He did so with his friend John de Nugent, who last year launched what the neo-Nazi online forum Stormfront called a “serious bid for President of the United States.” De Nugent gushed on his blog that Griffin, whom he had met twice, was bravely tackling the “Jewsmedia…. Hail the White Leader, Nick Griffin!”

Griffin could do without these kinds of encomiums. As one of the new BNP European Parliamentary members, Griffin’s electoral success demonstrates the effectiveness of his strategy to emphasize the party’s British nationalism while adopting an amnesiac approach to its neo-Nazi origins. The elections marked a breakthrough. “

There’s a good article by Gershom Gorenberg on Netanyahu’s recent speech called Man of the Past.

Gorenberg blogs at southjerusalem.com

Written by modernityblog

18/06/2009 at 00:23

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