11 Sep 2009

Danby Laments Loss Of Control Over The Message

By New Matilda
On Monday, Federal MP Michael Danby attacked New Matilda in a speech to parliament. New Matilda is one of the only outlets in the country that has refused to bow to pressure from the Israel lobby. This is his speech

This speech was given to the House of Representatives by member for Melbourne Ports, Michael Danby, on Monday 7 September.

Mr DANBY (Melbourne Ports) (9.01 am) — Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of the Commonwealth, offered the following comment in response to a recent speech by Iranian President Ahmadinejad: "There can be no doubt as to the most tenacious ideology of modern times. German fascism came and went. Soviet Communism came and went. Anti-Semitism came and stayed".

Rabbi Sacks went on to note that the re-emergence of anti-Semitism is one of the most frightening phenomena of his lifetime because it is happening after 60 years of education after the Second World War, anti-racist legislation and interfaith dialogue.

As a member of parliament in this great democratic country of Australia, I am saddened to have to agree with the Chief Rabbi of the Commonwealth. Indeed, there is a modern resurgence of anti-Semitism, although Australia, with its unofficial doctrine of a fair go, is perhaps the most tolerant and pluralist of all global societies. Constituent communities contribute to the success of pluralism. The Australian Jewish community has made a substantial and durable contribution to this country, offering a distinct culture that nonetheless furthers cohesion and the national interest by its commitment to core democratic values, secularist laws and the constraints of our parliamentary system.

As members will no doubt know, the Jewish presence in Australia began with the First Fleet and has grown to some 120,000, according to the authoritative Jewish population survey just published by the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University. Recent generations of Australian Jews have never forgotten the debt to the Australian people who provided refuge to our parents and grandparents, the remnants of European Jewry, during and before the darkest period of Jewish history, the Nazi genocide of the Second World War.

Within this history and context of Australian tolerance and pluralism, I recently spoke of the bigotry that has attended the exponential rise and proliferation of the internet. In particular, I focused on two Australian online magazines, Newmatilda and Crikey, with their slanted commentary on the Middle East which has been used as a cover for unmoderated, unleashed and unhinged comments on their websites. My analysis prompted an exchange of letters between well-known civil rights organization (sic) the Anti-Defamation Commission and Newmatilda's editor, Marni Cordell. (You can read the exchange here.) In April of this year the Anti-Defamation Commission sent Cordell a sober, detailed and careful analysis (Ed: We'll let you judge for yourselves) of the magazines' contents for the first three months of 2009, highlighting ADC's concerns over not its partisan opinion but the broad slabs of hate speak published in the comments section following each article. En passant, Cordell virtually agreed that her online publication presented no semblance of fairness, asserting her publication's role was as a counterweight to the biased, pro-Israel media. One wonders what planet she lived on during the war in Gaza.

Cordell fudged why Newmatilda publishes blatantly bigoted commentary, even though the magazine explicitly reserves the right to moderate that commentary if it is abusive or promotes hate. Only since being exposed has Newmatilda stopped publishing race hate in its comment columns (sic). I seek leave to table some of the comments that followed articles in these two publications during the first three months of 2009.

Leave granted.

Mr DANBY — Crikey and its editor, Jonathan Green, have made no explanation or issued no apology. Eric Beecher, the owner of Crikey, who hails from a similar ethnic cultural background to me, owes an explanation for Crikey's publication of these hate filled comments. Such comments would be suited for publication in Julius Streicher's Der Sturmer.

I take as my guide the definition suggested by former Soviet dissident and human rights activist Natan Sharansky in addressing these issues in total. Mr Sharansky distinguishes the two by his 3D principles. He warns to look for three things: demonisation, delegitimisation and double standards. Looking at the coverage in Crikey and Newmatilda we see a tiny country of seven million people portrayed as a manipulator of world events, a state engaged in ethnic separation — without any mention of the thousands of civilians murdered by homicide bombers — and an initiator of wars that have no strategic or defensive codex. That is demonisation.

Of course people can be fairly critical of any state in the world and critical of particular actions of any state, but, following the Sharansky model, anyone who looks at Cordell's Newmatilda or Green's Crikey during this period could only conclude that Israel was a country deserving of rocket attacks on its citizens and not entitled to defend its sovereignty. That is delegitimisation. Scant attention is given in the same publications to Burma, Darfur, Zimbabwe, Tibet, North Korea, Chechnya, Eastern Turkistan or any other place witnessing gross abuse of human rights. That is a double standard.

I was particularly outraged, however, by the tenor of readers' comments which followed these articles and contained repeated examples of bigotry. I have tabled a small percentage of these verbatim comments from the Newmatilda and Crikey websites from the first three months of this year. Of course, all members will find these comments as abhorrent as I do. No doubt some members will ask the obvious question: how does this kind of vile commentary following the articles — I am not talking about the actual articles; people are entitled to have different views on these kinds of things — find its way onto a site that reserves the right to censor such comments? The editors of Newmatilda were not moved to address this issue until I publicly intervened.

Thereafter, on 7 July, they responded by way of an editorial that began:

"Regular readers will notice that we have turned off all comments on articles about Israel/Palestine." (You can read the whole thing here.)

Predictably, what followed was a long self-justification, which read in part:

"Historically, we have erred on the side of free speech — we did not pre-moderate comments on the site, which is rare in this litigious age, because we wanted to promote open and diverse debate."

Open and diverse debate is different from publishing unregulated, vile racism. Again, I repeat that the Newmatilda decision to moderate their own site happened not out of consistency or out of some sense of decency but because the searchlight of public opinion was shone on these dark and ugly recesses of the internet. Two regular contributors to Crikey and Newmatilda — Antony Loewenstein and his Sancho Panza, Michael Brull — also responded to my speech in a jointly authored article stating that my criticism could be condensed into the following:

"Michael Danby erodes his credibility by accusing two Jews of anti-Semitism because they don't agree with him ..."

I am certainly content to reiterate here that, in relation to their commentary of the conflict, the two individuals are guilty of double standards, demonisation and delegitimisation. However, contrary to their response, their ethnicity was not addressed in my speech at all because it was clearly not my principal concern.

Their writing and the editorial bias of the online publications for which they write clearly puts them on the fringe of Australian politics. If one compares the things that they wrote with, say, Labor Party discussions at the recent national conference, one would see that they are completely outside the mainstream of the centre-left party in this country, for instance. For those writers to seek refuge behind their ethnicity is particularly craven. It is dishonest.

The thrust of my previous speech and tonight's lies with the creepier bigotry that their articles and other articles unleashed in these two online publications, which apparently had no problem with publishing them. I agree with Thomas Friedman, who wrote:

"Criticizing 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."

In examining the evidence of lopsided coverage of these two internet publications, our toughest critique must be of their unadulterated racism: the perverse nature of their criticisms and the vitriol that is not present in the appraisal of other conflicts; the use of terms such as "ethnic cleansing" and "Nazi"; and the dropping of all pretence of anti-Zionism by openly discussing Jews and so-called Jewish proclivities. George Orwell wrote:

"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."

Perhaps — but my fear is that the internet is now so pervaded by such views that they can attain a patina of truth and respectability. In many of the articles in both magazines, the ability to link and cross-reference to other sites and commentaries apparently bolsters and legitimises the views of the authors in circumstances where readers cannot vouch for the credibility of the concurring opinion. Opinions and commentary are therefore expressed in an ethical vacuum absent of the strictures which we have come to accept as inherent in the profession of journalism, such as fact checking and peer review.

It is clear in my view that Newmatilda.com and Crikey.com disgraced themselves and the wider circle of Australian journalism — and the tolerant ethos that characterises Australia — by publishing clearly bigoted comments in the comments sections of their publications in the first three months of this year.

Note: All comments on this article will be held in a moderation queue until they can be reviewed by a moderator. If you are posting after business hours your comment may not appear before 9am the following day.

Log in or register to post comments

Discuss this article

To control your subscriptions to discussions you participate in go to your Account Settings preferences and click the Subscriptions tab.

Enter your comments here

Eggbomb
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 - 14:35

Cordell is right. There needs to be a balance in commentary and coverage of Israel/Palestine events.
I think Danby has made this Jewish/religious issue rather than an issue of governments once again acting unethically within a war.

dylan6
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 - 15:14

The problem here is that your lead-in statement implies that NM was simply defending its right to publish and highlight views from the pro-Palestinian lobby, and limit or exclude alternate or more balanced views. But much of Mr Danby's concern and that of many others of varying political views was that NM was giving free space to a number of bloggers whose opinions were of the far Right rather than left or progressive, and whose regular contributions on Middle East politics reflected anti-Jewish rather than anti-Zionist opinions. NM has never satisfactorily explained why it was publishing such racist views. This has nothing to do with debates about the so-called "Israel lobby".

garnolda
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 - 15:54

According to Danby it is "unadulterated racism" to agree with Israeli historians who acknowlede that ethnic cleansing was intended and achieved in the establishment of Israel.

In addition, Danby argues that Israel should be assessed in the context of what is done by all the other abusive regimes in the world. This is an unusual argument as it concedes that Israel is abusive, something that the lobby generally denies.

Nevertheless, there is legitimacy to the argument that selecting Israel for special attention requires justification. What is unusual about Israel, from my point of view, is that the Australian Government whole-heartedly supports this abusive nation (i.e., having a Parliamentary celebration of Israel's 60th Anniversary), and fails to decry its abusive acts (see current B'Tselem report on the Gaza deaths: http://www.btselem.org/Download/20090909_Cast_Lead_Fatalities_Eng.pdf). When the Australian Government is supporting abusive nations, Australian citizens have special responsibilities.

In this context it is particularly concerning that our political leaders and media comentators are going to Israel on Rambam or other Zionist-funded fellowships, and not taking the responsibility to go to the West Bank and Gaza, to make sure that they are receiving full information. Those who go on these one-sided fellowships sound, on their return, alarmingly like Israeli Government spokesman and women.

If Mr Danby can bring to my attention other abusive countries treated this way the Australian Government, or with such a powerful and well-funded lobby that is systematically targeting senior politicians and media commentators, I would be sincerely grateful.

Rocky
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 - 16:13

dylan6,

Fair comment,however that's half the picture, in the interests of balance I'm sure NM will ensure that no anti-Arab racist rants slip through the filter either.

dryolk
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 - 17:16

"Scant attention is given in the same publications to Burma, Darfur, Zimbabwe, Tibet, North Korea, Chechnya, Eastern Turkistan or any other place witnessing gross abuse of human rights. That is a double standard." This seems to be saying "Why pick on Israel, why not pick on someone else?" That is, the Israeli government is guilty but only as guilty as the Burmese, Zimbabwean or North Korean governments.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. DrGideonPolya
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 - 17:31

Outstanding Jewish Australian writers Antony Loewenstein and Michael Brull are to be congratulated for courageous and ethical journalism in relation to gross human rights abuses by Apartheid Israel - and so too are New Matilda and Crikey.

For what these and numerous other outstanding Jewish writers, scholars and leaders and have said in relation to racist Zionism see the anti-racist Jews Against Racist Zionism (JARZ): http://sites.google.com/site/jewsagainstracistzionism/ .

For resolutely anti-racist Jews, and indeed all resolutely anti-racist humanitarians, the core moral messages from the Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million dead, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation) and from the more general WW2 European Holocaust (30 million Slav, Jewish and Gypsy dead) are “zero tolerance for racism”, “never again to anyone”, “bear witness” and “zero tolerance for lying”.

However these sacred injunctions are grossly violated by the anti-Arab anti-Semitic racist Zionists running Apartheid Israel and their Western backers, such as Bush and Obama, who are variously involved in the ongoing Palestinian Genocide, Iraqi Genocide and Afghan Genocide (post-invasion violent and non-violent excess deaths 0.3 million, 2.3 million and 3-7 million, respectively; post-invasion under-5 infant deaths 0.2 million, 0.6 million and 2.3 million, respectively; refugees totalling 7 million, 5-6 million and 3-4 million, respectively, plus a further 2.5 million NW Pakistan Pashtun refugees) (for details and documentation see “Pro-Zionist Western Holocaust Denial “: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/29844/26/ ).

JARZ states that all decent, anti-racist, humanitarians must vigorously oppose and sideline those, such as Bush and Obama, supporting racist Zionism, Apartheid Israel and racist Western wars and occupations and who are currently complicit in 0.7 million non-violent excess deaths annually; continuing, racist perversion of human rights, humanitarian values and rational discourse in the Western democracies; ignoring of worsening climate genocide (that may kill 10 billion non-Europeans this century through unaddressed man-made climate change); and egregious anti-Jewish anti-Semitism through falsely identifying decent, anti-racist Jews with these appalling crimes.

JARZ is inspired by our obligation to the 30 million victims of the WW2 European Holocaust and indeed to the victims of all other holocaust and genocide atrocities such as the 35 million Chinese killed by the Japanese in WW2, the 6-7 million Indians starved to death by the British in the 1943-1945 WW2 Bengal Famine and the 9-11 million people actively or passively killed (so far) in the Zionist-promoted and Zionist-supported War on Terror, in horrible reality a cowardly and racist War on Arab, Muslim, Asian and non-European Women and Children.

JARZ is also inspired by the words of outstanding Jewish American scholar Professor Jared Diamond who in his best-selling book "Collapse” (Prologue, p10, Penguin edition) enunciated the "moral principle, namely that it is morally wrong for one people to dispossess, subjugate, or exterminate another people" – an injunction grossly violated by racist Zionist (RZ)-run Apartheid Israel and its racist, genocide-committing and genocide-ignoring US Alliance backers (the US, UK, NATO and Apartheid Australia).

As perceived by UK writer Alan Hart in his recent book “Zionism: the Real Enemy of the Jews. Volume 1. The False Messiah"” (Clarity Press), racist Zionism represents an immense threat not just to the Arab and Muslim World but also to decent, anti-racist, humanitarian Jews throughout the World (see: http://www.claritypress.com/Hart-I.html ).

Driven by such ethical concerns JARZ documents the views against racist Zionism of outstanding anti-racist, humanitarian Jewish scholars, leaders and writers from Hannah Arendt, through Albert Einstein, Yehudi Menuhin and Harold Pinter to Howard Zinn.

What better comment than the view of Australia’s most famous Jewish public figure, Sir Isaac Isaacs, our first Australia-born Governor General, who opposed race-based colonization of Palestine because it would be against the legitimate interests and rights of the Indigenous Palestinians.

Thus Sir Isaac Isaacs, 1946: “The honour of Jews throughout the world demands the renunciation of political Zionism" (see: http://sites.google.com/site/jewsagainstracistzionism/isaacs-isaac-sir-i... ) .

Peace is the only way but Silence kills and Silence is complicity.

dylan6
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 - 19:39

Rocky: None of the regular anti-Jewish bloggers have expressed anti-Arab views. The problem is that they think to be pro-Arab you have to be anti-Jewish. Infact, the wonderful Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine (TULIP) website has explained over and over again that progressives should be pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian. That means supporting a two-state solution that recognizes the rights of both peoples. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

dylan6
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 - 19:43

garnolda: you speak as if Ilan Pappe's political rather than evidence-based views on the causes of the Palestinian refugee tragedy are the accepted wisdom. In fact, most Israeli and non-Israeli historians share the informed views of Benny Morris that the refugee tragedy occured in the context of the 1948 conflict between the Palestinians, Arab States and Israel, and that all three sides have to bear responsibility.

pdeburgh
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 - 21:37

Freedom of expression is OK by the Israel Lobby - as long as it does not criticise Israel. Criticise Israel and you are branded "Anti-Semitic".
Who sincerely believes Israel today is beyond criticism?

One of the ironies is that 'anti-semitic' is a factual nonsense!
Very few Jews - in Israel, or in the global diaspora - are ethic Semites.
Yet the Palestinians, and a vast number of Arabs are the ethnic Semites!

The tragic reality is that the more extreme, the more brutal the government of Israel towards the Palestinians - and one should add, the Lebanese - the more aggressive is the Israel Lobby in it's efforts to try and sanitise the bloody realities.

I predict that sooner, rather than later, this is going to blow up in Israel's face. All Jews will once again suffer as a result of the the extreme actions of Israeli governments - and those who run Israel Lobbies around the world.

peggylor
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 - 22:48

I have no particular religious or political affiliations and as an outsider looking in I see it like this.
Judahism is a religion, Zionism is a political ideology as is monarchism, communism,republicanism or any other political 'ism'.
This has nothing to do with anti-semitism it is about Israeli government policies.

yeahbut
Posted Saturday, September 12, 2009 - 00:31

Yeahbut, Marni, in your response to the Anti-Defamation case, you completely omitted to explain why, when you clearly state that you will censor hate speech, you allow the likes of rockjaw, dazza, and mary j open slather. While patting yourself on the back in the name of the highest journalistic ideals, you've allowed the comments section to be a cesspit of race hatred. You just don't get it, girl.

PAUL110
Posted Saturday, September 12, 2009 - 05:48

I agree with Mr Danby. I used to follow NM but the editorial policy of Ms Cordell was so wrong and inappropriate that I gave up. She has turned a good little website of alternative thinking into a forum of the worst kind of Anti-Semitic hate material I have read in Australia.

I don't believe that she is unbiased. NM was very different after Mr Borghino. He would have never let NM descend to such low levels. Ms Cordell should take notice instead of dismissing genuine concerns held by many.

In the presentation of this piece by Mr Danby, she refers to the "Israel Lobby". She should let us know, if she is to use that expression so loosely and irresponsibly, who funds the lobby, who runs it, and how it influences the media in Australia (from which NM is, thanks to her, so "different"). The use of the term "Israel Lobby" epitomises her prejudices and is reminiscent of the old conspiracy theories that the Nazis and other Anti-Semites fabricated against the Jews.

NM is rapidly descending into the category of an extremist and fringe publications, and the responsibility lies in the hands and prejudices of Ms Cornell. The sooner NM gets an appropriate and professional editor, the better.

Paul

This user is a New Matilda supporter. dazza
Posted Saturday, September 12, 2009 - 18:32

Now who in Hell actually, outside of his own narrow clique, listens to anything Michael Danby says. Well, Madame La Gillardine does!

He was one of those who who went with La Gillardine when she crawled to her jewish victorian voters and licked a few dates in Palestine (sorry, israel).

As for New Matilda, he is well out of date, anyway. These days, NM is very much censored to comply with the jewish lobby wishes. So I guess he can chalk up another win for the denying of freedom of speech in good ole Aussie. This article, and the treatment of comment on it by NM contributors, is a case in point.

But I do admit it is refreshing to NOT SEE those Mossad shills raving on, as they did before. They got their way, and retired, grinning!

Crikey? Since Beecher, it has gone to the dogs. No longer worth reading.

dryolk, well said!

GraemeF
Posted Sunday, September 13, 2009 - 09:18

Its the same argument forwarded by Intelligent Deniers. Treat our side of the argument with equal weight despite it being a minority viewpoint with little to support their conclusions.

Israel puts itself up as a modern, western style democracy so what is wrong with expecting them to behave in such a manner? Of course we expect their behaviour to be more moral than that of Darfur given our close relationship.

I notice that Danby never accused NM of any false facts, just bias.

Enrico
Posted Sunday, September 13, 2009 - 16:41

It is refreshing to see the discourse on the Palestinian conflict in the mainstream internet media as has been carried in the New Matilda articles. Congratulations to the editor and publisher.

Michael Danby has been in the forefront of attempting to censor any discussion on the conflict in Australia that does not toe his strongly pro-Israeli line.

Remember he tried to get editor Louise Adler at the Melbourne University Press not to publish Antony Loewenstein's "My Israel Question". Earlier he also had tried to block Loewenstein's appointment to a Middle East Studies board at Macquarie University. In the Australian Jewish News he took the Jewish Loewenstein to task for airing his views in the larger media, and not containing them within the Jewish community. (As if there was room for divergent views in the Jewish News or the Hakoa club in Sydney.)

Danby successfully complained to Fairfax's Sydney Morning Herald on their Middle East correspondent, Ed O'Loughlin's (relatively balanced)reporting of the conflict. O'Loughlin was let go shortly afterwards and returned to Scotland. The current Fairfax journalist, Jason Koustoukakis is a singularly pathetic replacement focusing on the minutiae of Israel life such as treatment of a snake massage parlour or pumping almost every article with the disarming message that there is a "peace process", suppressing reportage of the severe oppression of Palestinans.

Public discourse is impoverished when an attack is made on the publisher and not on the ideas published. The aim of the attacker is to cut off the oxygen so necessary to free discourse. It should never be forgotten that it is only a free marketplace of ideas that error can be ferretted out and truth can prevail. Those that suppress that free marketplace are dangerous people. They typically elevate erroneous ideas as anassailable truths.

In an institutional setting they hold office as Censors and the corpulent Danby is Israel's Chief Censor in Australia.

Under the color of his parliamentary privilege he makes an attack that cannot be answered on an equal footing on a matter that is not before the Parliament. He writes bullying letters to editors, book and magazine publishers and university heads all in an effort to suppress every anti-Israel view that surfaces.

In a democratic society, every criticism of Israeli policies should be answered point by point, not by bullying and manipulating editors and publishers. Danby doesn't get coverage for his extreme Israeli views in the mainstream press because his views are not newsworthy ---those views alreay permeate the mainstream press.

We should see much more of this type of attack from the establishment right wing of the Australian Jewish community. It is a tragedy because until the creation of the state of Israel Jewish diasporan communities were always at the forefront of civil liberties, especially fighting for free speech. That heritage is being lost as the Jewish diasporan establishments, as is happening here in Australia, become transfixed with supporting Israel "right or wrong".

The Jewish community in Australia, as in America, is splintering. The support for Israel is diminishing as the tired cliche's of a "victim" state become more and more meaningless especially in the aftermath of the dust and death of Lebanon, the two year siege and devastation of Gaza and the surfacing by Vannunu and Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker ("The Sampson Option") of Israel's mighty nuclear arsenal and delivery systems.

The right wing Jewish establishment may currently enjoy governmental power far beyond its electoral base, but that will not last.

Reflecting this attack mentality, Colonel Kelly, now the Labor member for Eden Monaro when in the military wrote to NSW Premier Bob Carr, urging him not to present the University of Sydney's Peace Prize to the Christian Palestinian, Hanan Ashwari. (Yes, Kelly is married to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's cousin.) In his first term Kelly has already been appointed as Junior Minister in charge of Defense Procurement. A trip to Israel ensued last year and who knows what contracts to purchase Israeli military equipment were entered into.

As the base of the right wing if Australian Jewry erodes, as the Jewish community itself begins to splinter and voice dissatisfaction with the many errors of Israeli policies surface more and more, we can expect to see even more heightened attacks from Censor Danby and his associates.

Again, to the editor and publisher of New Matilda, congratulations for carrying on in the great tradition of free press that underpins freedom in our society.

albert
Posted Sunday, September 13, 2009 - 17:23

albert

The absolute cheek of Danby, his blatent hypocrisy is unbelievable, he is a disgrace to the ALP. It is time Danby read Michael Neumann artical on ANTISENITISM. -

"I take a different view. I think we should almost never take antisemitism seriously, and maybe we should have some fun with it. I think it is particularly unimportant to the Israel-Palestine conflict, except perhaps as a diversion from the real issues. I will argue for the truth of these claims; I also defend their propriety. I don't think making them is on a par with pulling the wings off flies.

"Antisemitism", properly and narrowly speaking, doesn't mean hatred of semites; that is to confuse etymology with definition. It means hatred of Jews. But here, immediately, we come up against the venerable shell-game of Jewish identity: "Look! We're a religion! No! a race! No! a cultural entity! Sorry--a religion!" When we tire of this game, we get suckered into another: "anti-Zionism is antisemitism! " quickly alternates with: "Don't confuse Zionism with Judaism! How dare you, you antisemite!"

http://www.counterpunch.org/neumann0604.html

albert
Posted Sunday, September 13, 2009 - 17:56

To the member for Israel, Michael Danby, how do you think you will stem the tide of criticism against Israel, from inside and out. Is one of your roles as spin doctor for the Israeli Lobby to preemtively attack in the house? I strongly suggest Danby reads this artical by Neve Gordon.

"It is therefore clear to me that the only way to counter the apartheid trend in Israel is through massive international pressure. The words and condemnations from the Obama administration and the European Union have yielded no results, not even a settlement freeze, let alone a decision to withdraw from the occupied territories.

I consequently have decided to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that was launched by Palestinian activists in July 2005 and has since garnered widespread support around the globe. The objective is to ensure that Israel respects its obligations under international law and that Palestinians are granted the right to self-determination.

In Bilbao, Spain, in 2008, a coalition of organizations from all over the world formulated the 10-point Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign meant to pressure Israel in a "gradual, sustainable manner that is sensitive to context and capacity." For example, the effort begins with sanctions on and divestment from Israeli firms operating in the occupied territories, followed by actions against those that help sustain and reinforce the occupation in a visible manner. Along similar lines, artists who come to Israel in order to draw attention to the occupation are welcome, while those who just want to perform are not.

Nothing else has worked. Putting massive international pressure on Israel is the only way to guarantee that the next generation of Israelis and Palestinians -- my two boys included -- does not grow up in an apartheid regime."

Neve Gordon is the author of "Israel's Occupation" and teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba, Israel.

revilo
Posted Sunday, September 13, 2009 - 20:06

Yes I've been wondering the same.
1. How is it that Israel seems to attract an inordinate amount of criticism whenever it militarizes to defend itself from rocket attacks from north and south,something which any other country is entitled to do?
2. Why the enemies of Israel can always claim Israel's at fault for coming back into being in 1948?
3. Why every one of the Arab wars is a priori Israel's fault, whoever starts it?
4. Why NM clearly has allowed a vast amount of anti Israel propaganda by disaffected Israelis and non-practising Jews?
5. Why NM has chosen to censor more of the defenders of Israel than the detractors,?
However with all this in mind I applaud NM publishing Danby's address to Parliament, and also the fact that in this country he can publicly defend a country which clearly has enough troubles without all the sniping and "friendly fire".
I guess the antisemitism is'nt as big a problem as was feared if people can safely express their views this way without fearing for their wellbeing.
Also the Jewish lobby can't be that powerful if Crikey and NM are still operating and not in the cyber dustbin.
Long live open and honest debate, and may the extreme right and extreme left cancel each other out without too much fall out.
Oli

billgale
Posted Sunday, September 13, 2009 - 20:20

I am not anti Jew but I am anti the Israeli lobby which includes fundamentalist christians A comment from the USA recently suggest the fundamental Christians are more a problem to any chance of peace than diaspora Jews.

Without taking Danby on over each of his points but since he is aprt of our government perhaps he can help get an answer to Australian foreign policy that puzzles me and to which I have not been able to get an answer from the relevant minister.

Hamas won an election in free and fair voting. Now like them or hate them
why is that we cannot talk to them even if it gets nowhere when we recognise dictatorships like China, Saudi Arabia etc etc.

What is our policy towards governments that hold elections Do we recognise them if only elected in our image and taking no account that the election represents the will of the people.

If we pick and choose then what is our real reason for being in Afghanistan.
because surely we don't regard any election there as producing even an approximation to democracy

Danby could possibly find that if the Australian government was genuine in its treatment of both sides and recognising duly elected governments as we do now in Israel then perhaps people like myself would not find the debate so skewed and presented as antisemitism when in fact it is a question of a
reasonable deal for an occupied people i.e the Palestinians

baveling
Posted Sunday, September 13, 2009 - 22:09

Well said dryolk.

One of the Israeli Prime Minister's advisers, Ron Dermer, director of policy planning and communications for the Israeli Government, once said that it was was anti-semitic for people to try to hold Israel to any standard higher than that of North Korea:

"[People] who get together to call for a boycott against Israel, are they also calling for a boycott against North Korea, the world's largest concentration camp? When you hold Israel to a standard that you won't hold another country to, what are you doing? You are being anti-Semitic." --http://www.smh.com.au/world/israel-draws-up-strategy-for-pr-offensive-20...

To insist that criticism of any country is invalid unless it is preceded by a roll-call of criticism of other countries seems an odd sort of non-defence. Perhaps for consistency, Danby should not call any individual anti-semetic unless he is prepared to provide a full roster of the world's anti-semites?

Danby goes on to quote Friedman "Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic". But I'm not sure he lives up to that maxim, at least not in this speech. He makes almost no specific claims, except that his 'opponents' in this debate, are "perverse", "vitriolic" and "openly anti-semetic", despite their insistence that they are not being anti-semetic.

Israel is indeed under threat, and can be excused a lot on those grounds. But not everything. And it should be possible to disagree about how much can and can't be excused without being accused of "vile indecency".

This user is a New Matilda supporter. DrGideonPolya
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 - 11:18

According to outstanding Jewish Israeli Oxford University Professor of International Relations, Professor Avi Shlaim: "review of Israel's record over the past four decades makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that it has become a rogue state with "an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders". A rogue state habitually violates international law, possesses weapons of mass destruction and practises terrorism - the use of violence against civilians for political purposes. Israel fulfils all of these three criteria; the cap fits and it must wear it. Israel's real aim is not peaceful coexistence with its Palestinian neighbours but military domination. " (see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/07/gaza-israel-palestine ).

For the expert, credentialed, humane opinions of many other outstanding anti-racist, humanitarian Jews opposed to the excesses of racist Zionist-run Apartheid Israel see anti-racist Jews Against Racist Zionism (JARZ) : http://sites.google.com/site/jewsagainstracistzionism/home .

Peace is the only way but Silence kills and Silence is complicity.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. dazza
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 - 11:29

Some excellent points and information there, Enrico. Thanks.

You are not the first to suggest that the Jewish diaspora unwavering and unthinking support of the abominations of israel is splintering. However, I just can not yet see it.

All the money and political power inherent in the organised Jewish lobbies remains paramount in all aspects, both here and in the rest of the World, especially America, where it holds the most influence.

When we see a Prime Minister of a totally dependent State such as israel give the President of the State supporting that dependent State to the tune of billions of dollars per year the finger, pretty much saying, 'stuff you', and most of the US Congress (Republican and Democrat) enthusiastically come out in support of that action, so-called democracy is in very dire straits.

These people know where all the power is, and it is NOT with the US President. After all, one of those Congresspersons (Joe Wilson) just called their own President a liar, very publicly on National Media!

The Jewish lobbies managed to enforce Obama surrounding himself with Zionists and Zionist sympathisers, so they do not see any cause for concern there. They know that their absolute control of Congress ensures that Obama is a totally toothless tiger, even if he really wanted to attempt to rein in israel's continuing abominations.

In Australia, the Jewish Lobbies, through people like Danby and Kelly and hundreds like them, including La Gilladine and also including some of our biggest and richest Jewish contributors to the political fortunes of supporters of Zionism, exercise much the same control over our foreign policies.

I am sure we would all (well, not all, but quite a few) love to see OUR Government support a balanced approach to the israeli occupiers and the Palestinians, but no one should hold their breath. We do what the Yanks tell us to do, in ALL matters!

And yes, Hamas was freely elected as the representatives of Palestinians in Palestine...however, israel and their backers decided that this would not be recognised, because this did not suit THEIR agendas. They conspired and acted in illegal manners, and placed that Uncle Tom Fatah 'leader' in charge of the occupied territories, because he was easily controlled and manipulated.

Now they see that this clown has no clothes, and want israel to release a long time prisoner because he wants to assume the leadership of the Palestinians, and is also very malleable by the criminal actors. They even forsee (or desire him to) him assuming control of Hamas!

Despite protestations, israel DOES NOT want peace. They want, and intend to obtain, TOTAL control of ALL of Palestine. Given time, and very compliant international bodies, they will probably get their way.

When they have squeezed all remaining Palestinians into the smallest possible areas of land (see Gaza), starved them of water, building materials and resources, blockaded every move they make, humiliated them on daily basis, bombed Hell out of them every now and then to the cheers of most of the World's leaders, someone, possibly other Arab states are EXPECTED to give refugee status to these people, and they will leave Palestine (or greater israel as it will be then) en masse, leaving a Religious entity claiming Statehood.

Let them join the rest of the Palestinians who have been living in terrible conditions in fetid camps, denied schooling for the children, denied health access, denied any political say in their affairs, the israelis and quite few Jews and a lot of U.S. Fundamentalist Christians expect these people, the great majority of them, to eventually either die out or be absorbed into the host populations, as they have to some extent in Lebanon.

Like Global Warming, there is NO move by world 'leaders' to actually do anything to right the wrongs against occupied and terrorised populations, or even to act to ensure the survival of the Planet Earth.

Just a lot of hot air and fine, empty speeches.

larrystillman
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 - 12:33

Others have made the point that Michael Danby has used his capacity as an MP to put on the record his views. These cannot be challenged, by those accused, in parliament--so it is not a level playing field.

But additionally, Dandy has really misunderstood how Web2.0 works and the dangers of over-filtering- and my needing to post this comment again is a good point. It was originally posted on Friday, but because Danby has applied such pressure on NewMatilda to filter, it's clear that the edit. team missed my post, so here it is again.

Danby has in fact abused his special rights here. It its a clear example being able to use a power relationship--such as that of a parliamentarian--to deliver an under-the-belt punch to opponents in the media, when the debate, between the fourth estate and a parliamentarian should be conducted in a more open fashion--that is, through the media itself.

By using his power of privileged speech he has probably only made those who think there is a powerful Israel lobby even more inclined to believe that Danby is now working on its behalf in Parliament. Danby's really done a disservice to the Jewish community in this regard.

I've got a much longer personal blog piece that people may wish to look at at http://ajds.org.au/node/79.

dylan6
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 - 14:36

Paul is partly right in saying there is an editorial problem here. I don't think the current editor is as bad as he implies, but she has one major blindspot - Israel and the Palestinians. On this issue, she acts not as an impartial and dispassionate editor, but as a partisan advocate, which is inappropriate. This is perhaps not surprising because Antony Loewenstein thanks her for her important friendship in the acknowledgements section of his awful first book, My Israel Question.

Edward embarrasses himself in praising the writings of Michael Neumann, a self-identifying anti-racist who acts as a virtual apologist for anti-Jewish racism. See the scathing exposure of Neumann by the famous left-wing scholar, David Hirsh (convenor of the left-wing UK Engage group which has courageously campaigned against the racist boycott of Israel proposal), Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism: Cosmopolitan Reflections. Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary study of Antisemitism Working Paper Series, pp.24-25 (available online).

As for pdeburgh, what nonsense. The anti-Zionist Left often claims that because Arabs as well as Jews are ethnic Semites that anti-Semitism is directed at Arabs as well as Jews. This is not true either today or historically, but a good strategy for avoiding dealing with racial hatred against Jews. You have been caught out with your pants down.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. marnic
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 - 15:22

Dylan6, what's with the "important friendship" gibe? I believe I was thanked in a long list of people who offered criticism or feedback on Loewenstein's book -- there was no mention of our friendship being "important". where on earth did you get this from and what exactly are you implying?

also, since Antony and i are both obliged to use our real names when we debate these issues, why don't you?

Marni Cordell (Editor)

Rocky
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 - 15:43

Surely it's a self defeating tactic by the more chauvinistic supporters of Israel to equate any criticism of the often appalling policies of the nation-state with anti-semitism. Do they actually believe this or is it a cynical ploy? 2000 years of often murderous anti-semitism is an explanation for this hair trigger response,however it is in no way an ethical defence of Israel's behaviour. I'm not convinced that any proposed boycott of Israel is, in principle, anti-semitic,forget about Israel's Jewish identity and examine its treatment of the Palestinians in a disinterested manner.

pdeburgh
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 - 16:42

Excuse me Dylan6 [14/09/090, you have misread/distorted/twisted what I wrote.
In no way did I suggest "that anti-Semitism is directed at Arabs as well as Jews."
My criticism is directed at the fact that the use of the word 'Semitism' in its widely used context a a club to beat anyone critical of Israel, or Jews, or Zionists, over the head is ethnically inappropriate.
At the least rather deceptive.
Perhaps
Given that ethnic Semites are a tiny minority of global Jewery.
Given that the vast majority of Semites are Arabs - which includes Palestinians.

The question then is - what alternative epithet might be used?

I am impressed by the level of discussion on this forum.
Which has not a little to do with my membership.
Well done NM.

rosross
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 - 18:55

I think one could argue that New Matilda has bowed to pressure. There are less articles discussing the Israeli/Palestinian question and the moderation is one of the least-user friendly and censoring of any online medium. However, NM has not completely buckled and one always appreciates some discussion, despite the often tedious limitations of moderation.'

dryolk,
You asked why more attention is given to Israel's actions than those of the Chinese, Burmese, North Koreans, Russians et al.

The answer is very simple. If Israel is indeed judged more often and more harshly it is for the simple reason that Israel is judged by the bar from which it has set itself: that of a developed democracy. None of the other war crimes and human rights abuses which you cite are carried out by developed democracies but in fact by nations which are either/or dictatorships, pseudo-democratic (as in the case of Russia and Zimbabwe, or undeveloped.

Israel stands alone, counting itself as a member of the First World and as, it claims for itself, a fully fledged free and liberal democracy. Therefore, Israel's actions must, and should be, more soundly condemned than those of the others. It is not that one does not condemn the others, but merely that the 'guilt' if you like is greater for Israel as it would be for any other developed democracy. And I would add, as it has been and remains for the United States and any allies over their invasion and occupation of Iraq.

When a developed democracy acts as Israel does, like any number of undeveloped dictatorships around the world, it lowers itself to that level and betrays the very principles upon which the civilized world is founded.

People are more outraged by Israel (and the US and any allies) for that matter, because of the egregious hypocrisy level and because of the betrayal.

It is one thing for a dictator to act like a dictator but quite another thing for a democratic nation which claims to be a beacon for freedom in the Middle East (as does the US for the world)to act like a dictator and to be guilty of the sort of barbarism which one equates with states which are neither free nor developed.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. DrGideonPolya
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 - 19:11

pdeburgh - there are 300 million ethnically and culturally Semitic Arabs, 1,500 million mostly culturally Arab Semitic Muslims and 15 million overwhelmingly culturally Jewish Semitic Jews.

Accordingly, one should talk of anti-Arab anti-Semitism, which includes Islamophobia and is just as evil and repugnant as anti-Jewish anti-Semitism.

Racist Zionism is clearly anti-Arab anti-Semitic in word and deed through invasion, conquest, devastation and ethnic cleansing of an Arab and largely Muslim Palestine (in 1880 it had a population of 0.5 million Arabs and 25,000 Jews, of whom half the Jews were immigrants).

Indeed, according to Professor Shlomo Sand, Tel Aviv University, the present -day genetic and cultural descendants of the Jewish population of multicultural Palestine at the time of Christ (Jews, Samarians, Greeks, Romans etc) are the PALESTINIANS (the Romans took away many Jewish slaves after defeating the Zealots in 73AD but they didn't have railways or cattle trucks and left most of the population behind).

In contrast, the Jewish Israelis are mostly descended from Yemeni, Berber and Khazar converts to Judaism in the 4th, 6th and 8th centuries, respectively (see "Jewish Israeli Professor Sand demands non-racist state in Palestine": http://sites.google.com/site/jewsagainstracistzionism/sand-shlomo-jewish... ).

The racist Zionists are clearly also anti-Jewish anti-Semitic by (1) falsely defaming outstanding anti-racist Jewish scholars and writers and (2) by falsely conflating Zionism and horrible racist Zionist crimes with ALL Jews - including decent, anti-racist humanitarian Jews who believe in the injunction of outstanding Jewish American Professor Jared Diamond in his best-selling book "Collapse” (Prologue, p10, Penguin edition), specifically the "moral principle, namely that it is morally wrong for one people to dispossess, subjugate, or exterminate another people" (see: http://sites.google.com/site/jewsagainstracistzionism/home ).

Peace is the only way but Silence kills and Silence is complicity.

dylan6
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 - 19:24

Gideon: when you praise Jews who campaign against Israel's existence, you need to remember that there were blacks who collaborated with apartheid, East Timorese who collaborated with Indonesia, and even today some Aborigines who join the IPA-controlled Benneleong Society. None of this makes them remotely progressive, just reflective of the way some members of oppressed groups internalise the hatred directed against them.

revilo
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 - 19:43

OK,
Thanks for actually publishing my post unamended.
I withdraw my fifth question. The question was erroneous.

Irrespective of how Danby chooses to spend his parliamentary time.
Irrespective of whom Antony Loewenstein decides to thank in his pulp fiction, and also irrespective of who is brave enough to identify themselves on the pro Israel side of the argument,I'll just insist on an answer to the first four questions I posed in my post yesterday.
Thanks again,
Oli

kmccready
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 - 22:12

Hey Albert
That was pretty funny about Danby being a disgrace to the ALP. Isn't hypocrisy pretty much synonymous with the ALP these days? The ALP Left in particular is a huge sell out. Its members "inside the tent" have stunk the place out even further.
Kevin McCready
http://kmccready.wordpress.com

EarnestLee
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 - 22:45

Whilst Israel acts as a Terror State it should be condemned.

Whilst the Australian Government remains silent on the continuing Palestinian genocide it should be condemned.

Whilst Israel defies United Nations resolutions it de-legitimises itself.

Thankfully Newmatilda has not bowed to the apologists of criminality.

Keep up your saintly work Marni.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. DrGideonPolya
Posted Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - 11:19

The outstanding Jews Against Racist Zionism (JRAZ) (see: http://sites.google.com/site/jewsagainstracistzionism/ ) do NOT "campaign against Israel's existence" as falsely asserted above - they express expert, humane judgments against a race-based Apartheid State of Israel built on war, invasion, occupation, theft, Nazi-style race laws and ongoing Palestinian Genocide. They demand peace based on non-racism, justice, equality and reconciliation - peace that is vociferously opposed by th3 racist Zionists (RZs) running Apartheid Israel.

Decent anti-racist Australians and decent anti-racist Australian Jews are fed up with the cowardly, racist and corrupt transformation of an anti-war, pro-environment, anti-racist Australian Labor Party to a racist, pro-war, pro-coal, anti-environment, pro-Zionist, Apartheid Labor P{arty or Apartheid Israel-supporting Labor party.

Part of that transformation (revealed in a letter sent to MPs and media) has been due to massive contributions to the ALP from climate criminal companies and from the proceedings of highly organized criminal activity (e.g. publicly documented contributions from one of Australia's most notorious white collar criminals and pro-Zionists)

Indeed it is no longer ethically possible for decent, anti-racist Australians or for decent, anti-racist Australian Jews in particular to vote for the Apartheid Labor Party - except insofar that we have compulsory, preferential voting and the extreme right wing Coalition Lib-Nats are possibly even worse than the Apartheid Labs.

Some key messages from the WW2 Holocaust (30 million Slavs, Jews and Gypsies murdered) are "zero tolerance for racism", "zero tolerance for racism", "bear witness" and "never again to anyone" - sacred messages grossly violated by the pro-war, pro-occupation, pro-racism racist Zionists, neocons, Bush-ites, neo-Bush-ites and Lib-Labs.

Decent, anti-racist Jews - and indeed all decent, anti-racist Australians - are morally obliged to adhere to these sacred injunctions and especially "bear witness" - they "cannot walk by on the other side" but, like the Good Samaritan (Palestinian) they are compelled to do the right thing in the face of the evil of racist Zionist-promoted race-based wars (post-invasion excess deaths in the Palestinian , Iraqi and Afghan Territories now total 0.3 million, 2.3 million and 3-7 million, respectively, and refugees total 7 milion, 5-6 millionand 3-4 million, respectively, with a further 2.5 million Pashtun refugees generated in NW Pakistan by Zionist-lackey Obama) ) (see: "Pro-Zionist Western Genocide Denial": http://mwcnews.net/content/view/29844/26/ ).

Indeed this authoritatively attested carnage is so horrendous and so comprehensively IGNORED in UStralia (aka Ozrael or Ozraelia) that one is compelled to argue that the racist Zionists (RZs) who so manifestly exert such a lying, holocaust-ignoring, holocaust-complicit, malignant, corrosive, racist influence on Australian life should be sidelined from public life together with the warmongering racist Lib-Labs, as have been the Nazis, neo-Nazis and KKK.

Indeed outstanding Hungarian Jewish American investor, philanthropist, Holocaust survivor and Holocaust hero George Soros has demanded the "de-Nazification" of Bush America (see: "George Soros – Bush America needs de-Nazification": http://mwcnews.net/content/view/12714/26/).

Peace is the only way but Silence kills and Silence is complicity.

denise
Posted Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - 12:23

Israel acts as a terrorist state because it is surrounded by a terrorist mentality where many Arabs still refuses to accept the Jewish state or a two-state solution.
However, that said it is very important for Israel and all Jewish Zionists (whether practicing or not) to understand and be aware of who their enemies are and what they think. And alternatively its nice to know who your friends are and what they think.
Publications like NM and Crikey help provide this type of information, as well as drawing out fringe extremists (non two-state solutionists) and idealists who are a reality and must be debated with rationally over these confronting issues.
Not all of the Arab states, or all Arabs for that matter treat Israel as an imposter, some accept the Zionist state and cause and welcome its modernity and cultural exchange.
So wht's stopping all of the richest Arab states getting together and supporting some much needed development and commerce in the Palestinian territories to get the Palestinians off Israel's back and into their own reconstruction phase?
Nothing except the extreme anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism fostered and allowed to pervade worldwide.

rosross
Posted Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - 12:28

Revilo, to answer your questions:
1. How is it that Israel seems to attract an inordinate amount of criticism whenever it militarizes to defend itself from rocket attacks from north and south,something which any other country is entitled to do?

See my post above regarding Israel's actions being judged by the bar it has set for itself. In addition, Israel is not doing what any other country would be entitled to do because any other country, particularly a democratic one, would be condemned for using military force to maintain occupation and colonisation. Israel is being attacked because it is maintaining one of the most brutal occupations in the modern age. Just as the Afghans and Iraqis have every right to fight against their invaders and occupiers, so do those whose land is occupied by Israel. One wishes it were not so of course, because peaceful resistance is always best, but attacks on Israel are because of what Israel does.

2. Why the enemies of Israel can always claim Israel’s at fault for coming back into being in 1948?

Israel is not blamed per se: for being established on Palestinian land in 1948. In truth, the UN and international community should take the blame and of course the Zionist movement. Israel is blamed for the occupation and colonisation of Palestine beyond originally mandated borders. Israel is also blamed, quite rightly, for the brutality of its occupation, the continued dispossession of the indigenous Palestinians, and attacks on her neighbours.

3. Why every one of the Arab wars is a priori Israel’s fault, whoever starts it?

All these wars were 'started' by the creation of Israel. Israeli historians now admit that Israel has started further wars in a bid to occupy more land. If Israel had not been created there would be no wars, ergo, the creation of Israel is responsible for Arab wars. Perhaps if Israel had not moved beyond UN mandated borders there would have been less wars. If Israel had not continued to occupy and colonise perhaps there would have been less wars. Just as all of the wars waged by Indians in North America, Maoris in NZ and Aborigines in Australia were the fault of the coloniser so are the wars waged against Israel.

rosross
Posted Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - 13:49

larrystillman,
thanks for the link to your blog. It's well worth reading. I think you make a very important point re: the lack of general courtesy online which at its worst degenerates into vicious verbal abuse, and which can be found on all sites, regarding all topics, to varying degrees.
It is a reflection of the lack of courtesy in society in general which, in turn, is a reflection of the swing away from a society entrenched in traditional courtesies toward one with virtually none. One presumes we shall at some point reach middle ground.
It is clear that vitriol is not something one only finds in regard to the Israeli debate. However, because of the 'baggage' surrounding the debate, it is easier for the vitriol to be interpreted as prejudice and bigotry, when in fact it is a lack of courtesy and emotional maturity.
I am not defending it in the least, but, as you say, it is very difficult to monitor and control without impacting freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech is crucial to our modern, civilized world and any attempts to silence comment is a betrayal of those principles.
However, perhaps just as some restaurants 'demand' shoes and neat attire be worn, online comment mediums could have courtesy rules along the lines of 'three strikes and you are out.'
When people are pushed to remain courteous they will also be pushed to think more about what they are saying and how they are saying it. It is often not so much what is said but how it is said. I qualify this last comment by saying that I recognise there are many supporters of Israel who are unable to tolerate any criticism of Israel, no matter how valid.
What we need on these forums is not censorship of content but censorship of discourtesy.

dylan6
Posted Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - 17:09

Gideon: Love to see this evidence you cite of alleged financial control of the ALP by Zionists involved in criminal activities. Could you please provide full details for all to see.

revilo
Posted Wednesday, September 16, 2009 - 07:02

With all due respect RosRoss, you did'nt answer my question.
You did what the government, particularly the PM does in questionwhen time.
Give a diatribe of points that you want to make to support your side of the debate.
Which continues to polarize the argument.
In fact I was asking NM to reply, they seem to have no compunction in justifying their own biases, I wonder why they feel so morally justified. Is it "political correctness",NM?
They clearly are biased, as you noted with Stillman.
The mainstream media are only interested in capturing headlines, not equivocating and in depth analysis.
The claims that there are conspiracies and political pressure to censor criticism of Israel are irrational and unfounded.
So the justification that sites like NM and Crikey are justified in launching criticism of Israel utilizing disaffected and lapsed Jews to restore some kind of pro Israel bias is erroneous and mischievous.
Yours courteously,
oli

rosross
Posted Wednesday, September 16, 2009 - 11:24

revilo,
I did answer your questions, although I respect your right to refuse to either understand or accept the answers.
You challenge NM and Crikey for publishing criticisms of Israel. Does this mean you do not believe in free speech? Is it just Israel which you think should never be criticised or are there other nations which should be exempt?
I don't understand your position. Surely all NM and Crikey are doing, along with many other communication vehicles, is encouraging and allowing discussion of issues. One of those issues is the Israel/Palestinian situation.Why is it an issue? It is an issue because many, probably now most, people in the world consider that there is a great wrong being perpetrated against the Palestinian people and they wish to see justice. In the same way that the Israel issue raises heated debate, so too does the occupation and colonisation of Tibet and increasingly the occupation and colonisation of West Papua. Sadly the Chechens, Acehnese and Kashmiris, to name just three, appear to be lower ont he public radar when it comes to justice but no doubt one day, there time will also come.
The debate regarding Israel's position and actions is no different to any other but merely perceived as such by those with vested interests in the continuing occupation and colonisation of Palestine.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. DrGideonPolya
Posted Wednesday, September 16, 2009 - 13:13

Leaving the racist Zionist Palestinian Genocide and the gross human rights abuse of the Indigenous Palestinians to one side (post-invasion excess deaths 0.3 million, 7 million refugees), decent Australians should be concerned about what the racist Zionists (RZs) are doing to AUSTRALIANS.

1. Racist Zionist political influence means that tens of millions of dollars are handed out each year to schools that promote racism, anti-Arab anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, the Palestinian Genocide, and endless racist wars on Muslim Women and Children (violent and non-violent excess deaths associate with the Bush , now Obama, wars, 1990--present, so far total 9-11 million).

2. Support for racist Zionist (RZ) criminal theft, war crimes and genocide in Palestine is tax deductible in Australia - whereas a Muslim doing his zakkat (alms giving) obligation by donating money to Israeli-blockaded Gaza hospitals or orphanages may face life imprisonment under racist Australian "anti-terrorism laws".

3. Racist Zionist war criminals are free to shoot, shell, bludgeon or bomb Arab civilians in the Middle East - including Australian citizens - and then are free to come to Australia for R & R ( I routinely meet such Apartheid Israeli state terrorists at social events but "good manners" dictates that talk is about the weather rather than racist Zionists terrorizing or killing Arabs or Arab Australians).

4. When racist Zionist state terrorists were bombing 25,000 Australians in Lebanon in 2006, the Lib-Labs sprang to the defence of war criminal, racist Zionist-run Apartheid Israel - what sort of traitors and terrorist sympathizers support the terrorizing and killing of their own citizens?

5. The racist Zionist-beholden Mainstream media, including the cowardly, unethical ABC, refuse to report the horrendous loss of life associated with the ongong Palestinian Genocide, Iraqi Genocide and Afghan Genocide - or indeed, racist Zionist complicity with the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s (the racist Zionists had an appalling record of collaboration with the Nazis and opposition to rescue of Jews, most notoriously their opposition to the Joel Brand scheme to save 0.7 million Hungarian Jews).

6. Zionist textbooks in our schools are notorious for variously eliminating or minimizing the wider WW2 Holocaust involving the mass murder by the Nazis of about 30 million Slavs, Jews and Gypsies - to these holocaust ignorers the WW2 Holocaust is ONLY the mass murder of 5-6 million Jews. These same holocaust-ignoring Zionist textbooks ignore the mass murder of 35 million Chinese by the Japanese in the 1930s and 1940s and also ignore the deliberate mass murder of 6-7 million Indians by pro-Zionist Churchill in the WW2 Bengali Holocaust (the first mass murder atrocity of WW2 to have actually been authoritatively described at the time as a "holocaust").

7. Zionists are extremely active in trying to ban holocaust (mass murder) -recognizing textbooks in Australian schools and universities.

8. Racist Zionist and pro-US fellow travelers have perverted Australia to a politically correct racist (PC racist) "democratic Nazi" society. The ALP has become an Apartheid Labor Party or the Apartheid Israel-supporting Labor Party that supports genocidal US and Apartheid Israeli wars abroad and a continuing Aboriginal Genocide at home. Thus the "annual death rate" is 2.4% for Indigenous Australians in the NT (as compared to 2.5% for Australian sheep in Australian paddocks); the racist NT Government is now removing nearly all instruction of Aboriginal children in their own languages (something even the racist Zionists haven't done yet to Indigenous Palestinian children); Indigenous Australian in the NT have been removed from the protection of the 1975 Racial Discrimination Act, are forbidden to buy, transport, see, consume, read things that all other Australians can and can be removed from their homes (such as they are), communities and sacred land on the say so of White officials with no recourse to the Law; and there is major Apartheid Labor push to get NT Aboriginals off their land.

9. And then there's political corruption e.g. Australia's leading racist Zionist white collar crook has been a major, publicly acknowledged donor to the ALP, which is thus in receipt of money from highly organized crime.

10. And, of course, because of the deficiencies of the racist Zionist-beholden MSM most Aussies don't know that WE almost became a Southern Hemisphere continental version of Apartheid Israel. Admittedly the proponents of the scheme to set up a Jewish Homeland in Australia were decent guys who opposed racist Zionist colonization of Palestine ... but then so too were some of the socialist idealists who settled in Palestine. The population of Australia is about 21 million, about 2 times that of Palestinians. If this scheme (ultimately rejected by John Curtin on Security advice in 1944) had gone ahead and gone wrong, TODAY there could have been 14 million Australian refugees forbidden to return to their Australian homes; 8 million Australians living under highly abusive military rule without any human rights for up to 4 decades; 3 million Australians living in a Gaza-style Concentration Camp being rocketed, shelled and bombed by racist Zionist war criminal psychopaths; and 3 million lucky Australians ("I should be so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky" ) allowed to vote for restricted candidates in "Southern Hemisphere Apartheid Australia" but otherwise subject to Nazi-style, Apartheid-style, race-based laws restricting movement, property, jobs and even marriage and requiring race-based ID at all times (see "'An Unpromised Land' by Leon Gettler. How Australia escaped becoming Apartheid Israel ": http://mwcnews.net/content/view/31744/26/ ) .

Tell all the racist Zionists you know that decent Australians have zero tolerance for racism.

The racist Zionists (RZs) who so manifestly exert such a lying, holocaust-ignoring, holocaust-complicit, malignant, corrosive, racist influence on Australian life should be sidelined from public life together with the warmongering racist Lib-Labs, as have been the Nazis, neo-Nazis and KKK.

Peace is the only way but Silence kills and Silence is complicity.

bladeofgrass
Posted Wednesday, September 16, 2009 - 22:16

"Open and diverse debate is different from publishing unregulated, vile racism." Well, Mr. Danby, isn't it somewhat dangerous to allow a politician to decide what the limits of "open and diverse debate" might be? I have seen you dining almost daily at Members and Guests in Parliament House with various members of the pro-Israel lobby, so it's hardly a secret where your sympathies lie.

Any reader of NewMatilda would know that the defenders of Israel were equally as vigorous in presenting their ideas in the comments section as the critics were. You didn't see fit to mention that in Parliament though.

EarnestLee
Posted Wednesday, September 16, 2009 - 22:53

The United Nations Human Rights Council has just published its report into War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity by both sides in the GAZA conflict January 2009. The reaction of Australian Politicans to the report and follow up International Action should be illuminating.

I expect that the cost in human lives of the GAZA blockade since the election of HAMAS will be quietly overlooked.

revilo
Posted Thursday, September 17, 2009 - 08:51

NM still has bias and castigates those with opposing views,and still avoids explaining its bias. Inordinate criticism inversely proportional to the justification.
NM Please do not confront me at a personal level again until you answer my questions I first raised.

Eg. China huge human rights violator-> scant criticism from the NM
Israel defends itself->relentless ongoing criticism from NM
I will keep striving to keep the debate honest and balanced.
Yours respectfully,
Oli aka Tzvi

rosross
Posted Thursday, September 17, 2009 - 12:41

revilo,

I realise your posts are directed to NM but reading them I am curious as to what it is to which you object. NM appears to cover a very broad range of issues, including the actions of China.

Do you feel there are more critical articles regarding Israel than there are about China?

This then takes me back to my post where I answered your questions. As I raised there, Israel claims to be a developed democracy and is judged on that basis. Do you think that there are more criticisms, and justly so, of Israel, for this very reason?

I happen to think that while it is very important that all nations be encouraged to act by the highest standards of a civilized world, it is far, far, far more important that any nations which claims to live by those standards should be soundly condemned when it so clearly betrays them.

The United States and her allies have been roundly condemned on NM and other sites, for the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq and the appalling slaughters still perpetrated against the Afghans and the Iraqis.

Just as the US, Australia and any other developed nation cannot be compared to China, neither can Israel. Compared to China one finds Israel's actions on a par but this is not comparing apples with apples. When you compare the actions of Israel to the standards by which it claims to live then it fails miserably. This is why people become so heated in criticism because such failures imperil the very foundations upon which the civilized world is founded. The fact that the US chooses to not only support Israel's war crimes and human rights abuses but does the same thing, as do we by omission and commission, merely fuels the intensity of the debate and any resultant criticism.

Perhaps you might explain how one can fairly compare the actions of an undeveloped dictatorial regime with those of a developed democracy.By your criteria it seems that nations which purport to live by the very highest standards should be excused because others, less developed and less free, do not.

You appear to suggest that the world should seek to achieve the very lowest levels of civilized behaviour instead of the highest.

EarnestLee
Posted Friday, September 18, 2009 - 02:15

DAZZA

When you wrote
"All the money and political power inherent in the organised Jewish lobbies remains paramount in all aspects, both here and in the rest of the World, especially America, where it holds the most influence."

I baulked. But todays Huffingtonpost identifies the sinister AIPAC

see

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mj-rosenberg/israeli-government-iran-n_b_2...

Of particular news from the author, an insider is

" And AIPAC celebrated that it could beat the White House, the Palestinian Authority and even the Israeli government. Kings of the Hill!"

The article has mixed news of interest to all

rosross
Posted Friday, September 18, 2009 - 15:06

thanks Earnest. It was an interesting article. Food for thought. One does wonder at times what the motivation of
AIPAC is given that it's actions clearly are not in Israel's interests so much of the time. One can understand that they are not in America's interests but the assumption is that they are in Israel's. Never assume. So often, those who claim to support Israel act in ways which sabotage her future and which betray the dreams and hopes of Israelis and Jews alike.

rosross
Posted Thursday, September 24, 2009 - 15:51

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/09/23-13

This is worth reading.
Richard Falk is the Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967 of the UN Human Rights Council, Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University, and since 2002 Visiting Distinguished Professor, Global Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara.

".....on the growing civil society movement throughout the world to impose cultural, sporting and academic boycotts, as well as to discourage investment, trade and tourism with Israel. It may yet be the case that as in the anti-apartheid struggle the shift in the relation of forces in the Palestinian favor will occur not through diplomacy or as a result of armed resistance, but on the symbolic battlefield of legitimacy that has become global in scope, what might be described as the new political relevance of moral and legal globalization. "

EarnestLee
Posted Thursday, September 24, 2009 - 23:57

rosross,

Thank you for this excellent reference. The full story must be repeated in light of the reaction. I believe all 1400 deaths should be investigated and recorded. These were fellow human beings.
It should be a matter for the General Assembly, not the Security Council.

denise
Posted Friday, September 25, 2009 - 15:21

To impose a cultural boycott on Israel will only arouse more public sympathy for Israel, as their cultural contribution would be considered a necessary outlet for disgruntled Israeli intellectuals and artists who do not necessarily support all of Israeli government policies.
And to attempt to make a pariah out of all Israelis, by silencing the creative few, will be a violation on Israeli artist's freedom of expression.
What should be encouraged is more cultural programs for the Palestinian artists to voice their concerns, desires and wishes.
Co-operative ventures between the two feuding state's most creative and artistic minds could be an even better solution to their problems of cultural coexistence.