Friday, August 1, 2014

Professor Beeson Replies


Recently this blog posted on an article at the Conversation by Prof Mark Beeson of Murdoch University about the IDF operations in Gaza.


Human Rights Activist and Animal Protector
"John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s important book may not have earned them many friends, but it did a valuable service in revealing just how powerful and influential the Jewish lobby is in the US."
Actually Mearsheimer and Walt's thoroughly discredited book have earned them an enormous number of friends. This always does. They took the well trodden path from obscure academia to global celebrity by the time honoured method of attacking Israel and the Jews.
American Jews are probably overrepresented in neo conservative and centre or centre right intellectual discourse. Certainly they are in pro-Israel and Zionist activity of all kinds but only the blinkered and worse would draw M and W's conclusions from that. Jews are also over represented among Democrats, charity workers, left wing and revolutionary politics, the professions, universities, British conservatives, those who show up to vote in elections, until recently the ALP, Animal Liberation and for all I know the RSPCA.
So what. What exactly is your point? That a disproportionate number of Jews are activists? You really don't need to write a book to prove that.
People complaining about Jews being "over represented" and therefore having disproportionate influence is the oldest trope in antisemitism. Of course pro-Israel voices in the US are strong, there are many, but only the ignorant think of this as a monolith and only the bigoted see some kind of a conspiracy in this.
One might have hoped we had got past this sort of thing by now.
There are many lobbies in the US just like here. The "Palestinians", Arab Americans, Muslims, teachers, academics, the oil industry all have lobbies. Big Oil has had a bigger influence on American foreign policy than the Jews and it is not at all benign or pro-Israel.
The "gotcha" thesis of these academics about the Jews (remember that American and Israeli Jews are about 90% of the world's Jews) is risible and deplorable. A generation earlier and they would have been clamouring for quotas in the universities to keep the numbers in "proportion". These days I guess they would target east Asians if they could.
American Jews are pro-Israel for exactly the same reasons as most American are pro-Israel. It is because they are pro-American. It is because of the absolute moral clarity of this issue.
The Jews are a tiny minority in the US, less than 2%. To attribute to them some kind of sinister power over the US and the West should be unacceptable in the West even if it is unquestioned orthodoxy across much of the world and especially in the Muslim world.
It should be unacceptable precisely because of that.
Prof Beeson  posted in reply:

Mark Beeson

Professor of International Politics at Murdoch University
In reply to Geoff Pahoff
Thanks for the thoughtful response, Geoff. The points about the US political system being open to a variety of influences are good ones and well taken. But do you really think that US policy toward Israel and Palestine is even-handed?
Why does nearly every American leader or politician feel obliged to intone to the ritual declaration about Israel's right to defend itself, with little comment about the means? Why is it that a successful middle-income state is the largest recipient of American aid? Surely you would concede that Israel occupies a place in American foreign policy practise and thinking that no other state does?

The blog replies


Human Rights Activist and Animal Protector
In reply to Mark Beeson
All of this is military aid. Much of it must be spent in the US as part of the overall US military and defence investment. .
The glib and simple answer to the question however is that no other successful middle income strategically critical ally of the US faces anything like the existential threat that Israel does
The last time would probably have been 1940. The US did much the same thing then that it does now. Sure Israel receives much energy in Washington but that has little to do with the "Lobby". The "Lobby" sees itself primarily in an educational role and as a counter to a hugely determined and aggressive campaign against Israel out of all proportion to its size or even its relative impact on the Arab world and the "Palestinians".
Nor is it a one way street. Israel projects US influence in the Middle East. It is a major source of intelligence about events in the Arab world, an active partner in anti-terrorist operations and increasingly important economically and as a source of leading edge technology including military technology.
Drones and remote warfare were pioneered in Israel, and if the US funded Iron Dome, the enormous leap in technology it represents is shared.
I do admit to some nerve pain at the constant, and yes, almost ritualistic, affirmations about Israel's right to exist, but not for the reason you infer. I can think of no other state where this needs to be even mentioned, let alone constantly intoned as the root cause of a conflict.
That is the rub with the "Palestinian" cause. At its core it not a genuine national movement, or if it is, it is something new and quite threatening.. Its central drive is not for a state but for the destruction and supercession of a state.
There can be no even handedness between Israel and "Palestine" because "Palestine" is not a state like Israel or any other state.
"Palestine' is an antistate. The first in history. .

And that of course is the end of the conversation.
cross posted Israel Thrives

Hamas? Hamas Who?


There are 809 Australian federal and state politicians. Thirty** of them have signed the letter reproduced below.  About 4%. 

You might think that is evidence of how marginal in Australian politics the Israel bashing business is at a time of war and determined terrorist attack, but I find the figure threatening. 

What follows is the only reference in the letter to the sustained missile attack on the civilian population of Israel. There is no mention at all of the vast tunnel enterprise and the enormous resources devoted to it since the last hudna less than two years ago. The truth that Hamas is waging a barbaric and cowardly war from behind the shelter of schools and the main hospital and from behind their own dragooned women and children does not even enter their consciousness.

The rockets fired from Gaza are not in any way justified and insofar as they threaten and harm civilians are illegal under international law. However, these imprecise rockets cannot be compared with the broad‐scale bombing of Gaza by Israel which has one of the world’s largest military forces.
What is the most irritating part of this display of bloody minded indifference to people under terrorist attack and callous pig ignorance? It's hard. It's nearly all there but do have another look at that hedge

...insofar as they threaten and harm civilians are illegal under international law. 

Do they ever not threaten and harm civilians? What are they saying? In so far as they threaten and harm soldiers in Israel they are NOT illegal under international law? As the rockets are fired at random perhaps these politicians will calculate the proportion that are illegal based on the civilian numbers of those harmed and threatened.

These instinctive enemies of Israelis under attack can not bring themselves to unconditionally condemn even the most egregious and vicious terrorism if the victims are Israelis. There has to be a hedge no matter how spurious.   

Hamas is not mentioned in the letter at all. As if the mere breath of a word about the  terror regime that rules Gaza and is trying to murder as many Jews as it can might blow away the insane illusion that it is the Israelis who are the enemies and oppressors of the people of Gaza. 

The letter and its signatories follow. They have been colour coded by party affiliation  for your convenience. Contact details for ALP members are also provided. 

Nick Zenophon is in a category of his own and has been allocated his own colour. He does after all have form. An expert on "international law", (aren't they all?), this Australian lawmaker is an advocate of the "back to the ghetto, Jews" solution for the problem of the Palestinians. 

It's the law, you know. 

** Updated. There are now 54 of them (and Malcolm Fraser)

LETTER. 25 July 2014
We the undersigned members of Australian federal and state parliaments, call on all Australian politicians to condemn the ongoing Israeli military bombardment and invasion of Gaza .
We call on Australian politicians to support an immediate cessation of hostilities and a ceasefire deal which includes an end to Israel 's occupation of the Palestinian territories and to the blockade of Gaza .
We call on all Australian politicians to also support the United Nations Human Rights Council's decision to launch an independent inquiry into purported violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws in the Occupied Palestinian Territory , including East Jerusalem .

Over 1200* Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, since Israel started its military attack on Gaza three weeks ago. The United Nations says at least 75 percent of the dead are civilians, including an estimated 168 children. In the last two days, Palestinian children have been killed at a rate of one per hour.
The rockets fired from Gaza are not in any way justified and insofar as they threaten and harm civilians are illegal under international law. However, these imprecise rockets cannot be compared with the broad-scale bombing of Gaza by Israel which has one of the world's largest military forces.
Collective punishment is not permitted under the Geneva conventions and is a war crime.
Hospitals, places of worship, and a centre for people with disabilities have been among the Israeli military's targets.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is providing shelter to more than 102,788 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The international community including Australia has a vital responsibility to put pressure on Israel to end its current military attack on Gaza and broker a solution of justice and peace.
*updated 30 July 2014
Signed by -  
1. Maria Vamvakinou MP*  contact 
2. Melissa Parke MP* contact
3. Laurie Ferguson MP* contact
4. Alan Griffin MP* contact
5. Sharon Claydon MP* contact
6. Adam Bandt MP
7. Barbara Perry MP* contact
8. Andrew Giles MP
9. Paul Lynch MP* (this guy NSW shadow Minister)
10. Jamie Parker MP
11. Lynda Voltz MLC* contact  
12. Shaoquett Moselmane MLC*
13. David Shoebridge MLC
14. Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC
15. Dr John Kaye MLC
16. Jeremy Buckingham MLC
17. Jan Barham MLC
18. Senator Claire Moore*
19. Senator Nick Xenophon
20. Senator Christine Milne
21. Senator Lee Rhiannon
22. Senator Sarah Hanson‐Young
23. Senator Larissa Waters
24. Senator Janet Rice
25. Senator Richard Di Natale
26. Senator Penny Wright
27. Senator Rachel Siewert
28. Senator Scott Ludlam
29. Senator Peter Whish‐Wilson
30. Senator Sue Lines   *

31. Tammy Franks MLC, Greens
32. Graham Perrett MP, Labor
33. Senator Anne Urquhart, Labor
34. Terri Butler MP, Labor
35. Julie Owens MP, Labor
36. Lisa Chesters MP, Labor
37. Senator Gavin Marshall, Labor
38. Senator Anne McEwen , Labor
39. Senator Carol Brown, Labor
40. Senator Doug Cameron, Labor
41. Cassy O'Connor MLA, Greens
42. Senator Jan McLucas, Labor
43. Lynn MacLaren MLC, Greens
44. Jill Hall MP, Labor
45. Jackie Trad MP, Labor
46. Malcolm Fraser, former Liberal Prime Minister
47. Shane Rattenbury MLA, Greens
48. Yvette Berry MLA, Labor
49. Bronwyn Halfpenny MP, Labor
50. Tony Piccolo MP, Labor
51. Andrew Wilkie MP, Independent
52. Senator Lisa Singh, Labor
53. Khalil Eideh MP, Labor
54. Lee Tarlamis MP, Labor
55. Johan Scheffer MP, Labor.  

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

News Flash! Foreign Journalist Caught Doing His Job.


A Marked Man?

This Italian journalist has said in a line what you need to know about the dead and butchered kids in Gaza. The bonus is an insight into how little the West really cares about them once it is too generally known that their deaths and  injuries were from Hamas rocket strikes and mortars, and therefore cannot be blamed with full impact on the Jews.

Nothing kills a Gaza story stone dead quicker than the news that not only did the Jews not do it, not necessarily news to Middle East correspondents anyway who after all are there, but that there is proof out there that they did not. And if they did not, who did? The UN?

Where "out there", they do not care. There is never any curiosity at all about that because there is no story to be found there.

The best a journalist can do in this situation without outright lying is a "both sides are blaming each other ... " type of story that turns entirely on the pathos of the scenes,often depicted in an obscene detail that the Western media self censors any where else but Gaza.

Nine more kids murdered by Hamas and a lot more badly bashed about, among probably hundreds, and the best our layabout media can manage are "both sides are blaming each other ..." stories. Bludgers. Cowards.

Remember the UNWRA school massacre story?

Surely. It was just days ago and it kicked off the most vicious attacks on Israel and, in the case of Mike Carlton, Israel, the Jews, the "Jewish race", the Australian "Jewish Lobby" and whatever other lip sneering euphemism is de jour in those circles.

Turns out the Israelis didn't kill the kids in that school after all.

Hamas did it.

Just that everybody decided it was best to blame the Jews for all the dead kids anyway even though this is a battle and it is in the nature of battles that loose ordinance flies about sometimes killing civilians and very frequently soldiers on your own side. It is in the nature of battles that there is a fog.

Hamas ordinance is the loosest ordinance of all. And they are masters of the world when it comes to fog. 

If you relied on the Australian media you would not know that Hamas, or one of its rivals, killed those kids in that incident that was so carefully and painfully recorded that you could not have missed it at the time. 

Now that it is known it was not the IDFand could only have been Hamas firing missiles from across the street, the story is dead. Old news. No reports at all that it was not the IDF, after all. This is not news in Australia

Flash. Arab kids not killed by Israelis.

You just now it will never get a run on the ABC.  

Remember the Mohammed Al Durah story and the Netzarim Junction blood libel? Probably not. That's the way the Western media wants it or prefers it  or perhaps just as things are once it becomes known that the Jews had nothing to do with it,and worse, there is detailed forensic evidence of that"out there" for all to see if they are interested.

 No story. Retrospectively there is no story. 

It only got worse when it became known the whole thing was a stitched up media fraud from the start of the day to the end of the day by when young Mohammed would have been somewhere safe watching himself on CNN and eating KFC.

And so the story headed for the newest wormhole in the direction of the next parallel universe. Barely a word survives. Google the subject and the most current gasp is Ed O'Loughlan making a goose of himself back in 2007.  

Once the story  was huge in  the Western and Australian media in what passes for Middle East reporting. Up until about ten years ago the image of that poor kid trying to shelter behind his desperate dad hung over every report out of the region from our fearless, straight calling  Middle East correspondents where like John Lyons filing out of Jerusalem, they are safer than if they were in Canberra on a bad winter night. 

Much safer come to think of it.     

Note to John Lyons. 

This is what a real journalist looks like. 

Barbati is not a "brave" journalist, or even an especially "honest" one, you might have hoped, for just reporting what he and his witnesses saw, once he was out of harm's way. Just doing his job is all. 

It really is a terrible thing there are so few of them. It must take a type of courage we are not familiar with. No point asking John Lyons about that.