Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Progressive-Left Jews and the European Union

Mike L.

The progressive-left is in denial and no part of the progressive-left is more in denial than the western Jewish left.

My central thesis at Israel Thrives is the following:
The progressive movement, and the activist base of the Democratic Party, creates and supports venues that demonize and defame the Jewish state, thereby also creating hatred toward the Jewish people.

Such venues include political journals, such as, but not limited to, Daily Kos, the Huffington Post, and the UK Guardian, numerous universities throughout the United States and Europe, various NGOs with an anti-Israel agenda, and the entire progressive-left movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction (BDS) the Jewish people of the state of Israel.

These venues and organizations do not generally criticize Israel, but dehumanize that country.

For this reason, among others, the progressive movement, and the activist base of the Democratic Party, undermines the well-being and safety of Jews around the world, sometimes resulting in violence toward us.

Therefore, as a matter of common sense and basic human decency, Jews should leave the progressive movement and the Democratic Party as we seek to build alternative political structures that are not home to toxic anti-Semitic anti-Zionists, who would see us robbed of self-determination and self-defense.
Now, I am either correct in the above assertions or I am not.  When I discuss the problem of the acceptance of anti-Semitic anti-Zionism within the western progressive-left among my left-leaning Jewish friends they almost always seek to minimize the problem.  My most concise assertion is that the progressive-left, as a movement, has betrayed its Jewish constituency through its acceptance of anti-Semitic anti-Zionism as part of the larger coalition.

The typical response that I get, however, from my progressive-left Jewish friends - who know that I was once a participant in the liberal, pro-Democratic party Daily Kos blog - is that Daily Kos and these netroots blogs are entirely fringe and that we need not take them very seriously.  I am told that it is really only a very small group of far-left fringe activists who have taken up the BDS cause or anti-Zionism as part of their political package.

In response I try to explain to them that it is not merely Daily Kos, but almost the entirety of politically left-leaning blogs and journals, including the Huffington Post (which Matt and Zach at the Huffington Post Monitor write about) or the Guardian (which Adam Levick of CiF Watch writes about).

The universities throughout Europe and the United States have clearly turned against the Jewish State of Israel as they host their annual "Israel Apartheid Week" celebratory hate-fests. Yale University, in fact, recently cancelled the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA) under exceedingly suspicious circumstances.  The University of Pennsylvania hosted a BDS conference last year.

But for whatever reason - reasons which I assume have as much to do with my exceedingly limited powers of persuasion, as much as anything else - I rarely can convince my left-leaning, pro-Israel Jewish friends that it is the left, itself, which has emerged as the greatest threat to the Jewish people in the west today, despite the fact that I, myself, come out of the progressive-left.

The prominent, if not hegemonic, conception of Israel within western-left organizations and venues is the notion that Israel is a racist, imperialist, colonialist, militaristic, apartheid, racist regime.  That highly negative and toxic broad-brush represents the (often unspoken) ideological background against which Israel is viewed.  The automatic assumption of Jewish guilt and wrong-doing is almost always brought to the conversation as a matter of course.

As anyone who follows the Long Arab War against the Jews can tell you, the European Union has recently busied itself with harassing Israel.  Prominent conservative columnist for the Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick, put it like this:
This week the EU took three steps that together prove Europe’s ill-intentions toward the Jewish state.

First, last Friday the EU announced it is imposing economic sanctions on Israel. The sanctions deny EU funds to Israeli entities with an address beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines. They also deny EU funds to Israeli entities countrywide that carry out activities beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines...

The EU’s second action was the publication Tuesday of EU foreign policy commissioner Catherine Ashton’s letter to her fellow commissioners informing them that by the end of the year, the EU will publish binding requirements for specially labeling Israeli goods produced by Jews beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines exported to EU member states...

The EU’s third act was its decision to define Hezbollah’s “military wing” as a terrorist organization, but leave all the other Hezbollah-related institutions untouched. While the move has been applauded by Israeli politicians desperate to deny Europe’s animosity, Europe’s partial designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist entity is another act of aggression against Israel.
Whatever anyone may think of the indomitable, and sometimes controversial, Ms. Glick, there is no question that the European Union has done precisely what she claims that they have and that those actions are anti-Israel on their face.  The economic sanctions are limited almost entirely to Jewish people.  Period.  Yet they exempt NGOs that further EU anti-Israel political interests within Israel, proper, and within Judea and Samaria, the traditional Jewish homeland.  The EU, it should be noted, has taken no such actions against China, despite the Chinese occupation of Tibet, nor against Turkey, despite its occupation of Northern Cyprus.

Furthermore, Defining Hezbollah's "military wing" as a terrorist organization, while exempting its "political wing," which directs its "military wing," was an act of terrific cowardice - one might even say "pussitude," but I will not do so.

So, I have to ask my progressive-left Jewish friends, is the European Union, much like anti-Zionist denizens in the bowels of a place like Daily Kos, merely a bunch of irrelevant, fringe lunatics?

I suspect not.

I feel reasonably certain that the very last thing in this world that the European Union is, is fringe.

So can we finally, at long last, dispense with the notion that anti-Semitic anti-Zionists, and friends, represent some fairly irrelevant fringe within the darkest cob-webbed corners of non-consequential political blogs?

As I wrote in January of 2010:
The liberal-progressive movement in the United States and Europe is forcing liberal Jews to make some very difficult choices. The voices who dominate the I-P discussion on the left are telling liberal Jews that they must make a choice; they can support Israel or they can support the progressive movement, but they cannot support both. This is rarely stated explicitly, of course, but it is the implication embedded in the never-ending disdain and contempt heaped upon the Jewish state by those liberals who claim to speak for human rights… even as they almost entirely ignore horrendous human rights violations by China or Russia or various African countries, not to mention the so-called Coalition of the Willing.
By any fair framing of the issues it has to become clear, by this late date, that the progressive-left, as a movement, has betrayed its Jewish constituency.  The EU is hardly right-wing.  It is, in fact, a creation of the left and it is not fringe, but central.

It is one of the major players in the world today and it is anti-Israel, if not anti-Semitic.

If you want to know what you can do about this, the very first thing that you can do is simply acknowledge it.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Who's afraid of free speech?


Pat Condell expresses gratitude to the trolls who flag his U Tube videos and attack his website in a futile effort to gag him and makes brief sales pitch (which I am delighted to pass on).

Who Else Is Being Injured by the Vilification of Israel?


The systematic lying about Israel harms much more than Israel. Ultimately it harms us all.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Noose Has Loosened

Mike L.

The failure of the Muslim Brotherhood to maintain power in Egypt, despite backing from United States President Barack Obama, may have averted disaster.  The so-called "Arab Spring," which brought the Brotherhood into power in Egypt, is the rise of the movement for Sharia - which is the movement for Muslim supremacism - throughout the Middle East.

This is a movement that persecutes women, that persecutes Gay people, and that persecutes Jews.

Political Islam is the Ku Klux Klan on steroids.

While American "progressives" bitch and moan and cry about the Tea Party, who want smaller government in the United States, the Brotherhood was preventing Egyptian Christians from voting at the point of a rifle and their Salafist co-ideologues were burning down churches.

And, yet, Obama said not a word.

Why any president of the United States would support such a movement is beyond me.  That Obama did support the Muslim Brotherhood is now a matter of public record.  But the failure of the Brotherhood in Egypt speaks well for the character of the Egyptians and demonstrates at least a glimmer of hope because it was a major blow to the rise of political Islam throughout the region.  The Egyptian military, furthermore, regained power in what was unquestionably a coup d'état with the clear backing of a large percentage of the Egyptian population.

One thing that people need to understand is that we are allowed to take sides.  As a tiny persecuted minority, the Jewish people have an interest in not seeing anti-Jewish fascists come to power, even if they do so by democratic means.  The Nazis, of course, came to power by the ballot.  Just because Islamic theocrats, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, come to power through democratic means it does not mean that either Jewish people, or western secularists, should celebrate such a thing as the great up-welling of Arab democracy.

It wasn't.  The Sharia may come to power by walking through a democratic door, but by its very principles it must slam that door behind it.  No government can be both democratic and based upon Sharia for long because Sharia is an anti-democratic legal and political system.

Now it should be noted, as the Brotherhood was taken down in Egypt, that Egypt is now engaged in significant fighting with Jihadis in the Sinai.  The true hard-core Salafists operating in the area were hardly friends with the Brotherhood, either, but they shared the same ultimate goal.  They both wanted to impose oppression on the rest of us via Sharia-based governments.

The Egyptian military government, and an important proportion of the Egyptian people, have no intention of living under the oppressive rules of formal Islamic law, al-Sharia, particularly given the fact that the Brotherhood was incapable of providing basic services and a stable economy.  Thus the Muslim Brotherhood was overthrown, Muhammed Morsi was taken into custody, and Egypt returns to something comparable to the status quo ante.

As an American I would much preferred if the "Arab Spring" had actually represented the rise of liberal democracy in the Middle East.  When we first started hearing about the rise of the "Arab Spring" we were told that these were young, secular-minded "facebook kids" who represented the future of a liberal and democratic Egyptian state.  That was nonsense.  It was never the case and those who told us it was should come clean with their mistakes, however well-intended.   What the "Arab Spring" really represented was the rise of a particularly ugly form of autocratic Muslim theocracy.  That it was supported by the United States government is simply unfathomable and unconscionable.

With the fall of the Brotherhood in Egypt, however, things look considerably brighter.  It's impossible to know what would have happened with a Brotherhood-dominated Egypt going forward, but one thing is certain, with the help of Barack Obama an Islamist noose was tightening around the necks of the tiny Jewish minority in the Middle East and now that noose has loosened.

And that, my friends, is a very, very good thing.


Mike Lumish is the editor of Israel Thrives.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Law For Jews : Back To The Ghetto


The Elder has published a poster that catches in a single picture the ideology that declares Jews building homes for themselves or even living beyond an imaginary line to be illegal. The picture depicts one of the streets child rapist and arch-terrorist killer Yasser Arafat would have shown Henry Kissinger from a street directory in a Jerusalem restaurant was to be the boundary beyond which Jews, and only Jews, were never to be permitted;  in an anecdote fondly recalled by Bob Carr, the Australian Foreign Minister, in The Australian.  The Elder's work shows how utterly gormless, self defeating, hypocritical and more than vaguely sinister European and now Australian policy in relation to Israel now is.

This blog wrote to Mr Carr over two weeks ago with a couple of questions about Australia's Middle East foreign policy.

1. What is the Government's attitude to the so called "Palestinian right of return"? Is the Government aware that this is explicit and "unchangeable" policy of even the "moderate"  factions and is code for the destruction or  "euthanasia" of Israel ?

2 What is the basis of the opinion that  Israeli "settlement activity" is illegal and will the Government release any legal opinion it holds in that regard?

Mr Carr is yet to reply. I'm not holding my breath. 

That Jews building and living in Jerusalem and Judea are illegal under article 49 of  the Fourth Geneva Convention is perhaps the most dangerous legal lie of the twentieth century. If this is indeed "international law" then we have witnessed the death of the rule of law as an international concept. This is not law. This is law that could have been taken straight from the Jim Crow states of the US in the forties and had to be squeezed out of American jurisprudence by Federal intervention.

None of this is to suggest that the evacuation of Jews from some towns as part of a genuine two state solution or even some kind of shared capital arrangement has never been on the table. They have been. But that is one thing. That is something for the Israelis and in my opinion ultimately the Israelis alone.  We need however to be very clear what we are witnessing. This is ethnic cleansing. The parties can negotiate about the extent of it but ethnic cleansing it is. There can be no clearer breach of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention than what Australian and European policy now expects of Israel as a matter of law.   

To expect this of any other nation or people on the planet as a matter of law is unthinkable. I can not think of a single example. But it is not unthinkable for Jews. There are international laws in place to curb and condemn it. But not for Jews.

Australia and Europe have endorsed the essentially racist narrative that Jews living lawfully on property purchased lawfully in parts of Judea and Samaria and even Jerusalem are squatters living unlawfully on other peoples' land. In doing so they have rewarded the violently racist policies of  Fatah, Hamas, IJ and the others. They could not have shamed us more if this was 1950's Australia and they were Australian politicians, and there were a few, endorsing segregation and legal oppression of American Blacks in the South.   

To put Australian policy at its best intentioned  the Jews are to be herded from their homes and onto reserves for their own protection as a matter of law as if they were Native Americans or Australians in the road of European settlement as indeed they are in the way of Islamic imperialism.  There is nothing enlightened about this policy.  

Given the unique role that brave Australians played in the liberation of Jerusalem and the land that was declared to be the place of a Jewish homeland as a matter of international law, Australia's position is especially egregious. The last of the old diggers from the First World War who once marched in the streets of every town and city in their thousands has now passed. It is only their memory and sacrifice for the hope of a better world that have been cynically cast aside.  

Says The Elder:

Beyond the legalities, though, is the reality that the poster above means to show: the world is targeting Jews, and only Jews.  See this great post by Yaacov Lozowick on Beit Safafa for examples of Arab Israelis who moved to the other side of the Green Line and are never considered "settlers".


A sign, in both German and Latvian, warning that people attempting to cross the fence or to contact inhabitants of the Riga ghetto will be shot. Riga, Latvia, 1941-1943.
Riga Latvia 1941

Rome 19th Century

cross posted Israel Thrives

Monday, July 15, 2013

Glorifying the Slaughter of Jews

Mike L.

{Cross-posted at Israel Thrives.}

Giulio Meotti has a piece published at Arutz Sheva entitled, I Am Going to Vandalize the Vile Museum in Paris.  One of my ongoing contentions is that the progressive-left, as a movement, no longer represents its own alleged values, if it ever did.  Because the left has sacrificed ideals of universal human rights on the altar of a misguided and counterproductive multiculturalism, they cannot bring themselves to stand up for the violently oppressed women in the Middle East nor Gay people who are hung from cranes there nor, of course, the tiny Jewish minority which remains under siege by a vast Muslim majority riven by genocidal anti-Semitism.

Meotti writes:
When you don’t protest it allows things to get worse and worse.

What would Jews or other people with a conscience do if a famous museum in London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid or Rome glorified the Holocaust through the exhibition of Jewish ashes, bones, glasses and hairs? I imagine, or at least I hope, that some brave Jew would smash these “artistic artifacts”. Because any person, regardless of his faith and political ideas, would have to find that kind of exhibition disgraceful and intolerable.

That is why I am planning to visit Paris within the next few weeks. I will stop at the Jeu de Paume museum, Place de la Concorde. Not to contemplate the wonderful paintings of Degas, Monet, Cézanne, Van Gogh or Renoir. No, I will be there to vandalize the Palestinian Arab photos exhibited there, which calli to murder Jewish children, teenagers, mothers with infants and elderly couples in the land of Israel.

The Jeu de Paume’s vile exhibition of 68 photos entitled “Death”, by Ahlam Shibli, glorifies Palestinian terrorists who burned Jewish flesh. I am wondering why no Jewish intellectual or activist has smashed this “artistic exhibition” which commemorates Palestinian Arab hyenas, the terrorists of the “road without glory”, as the Jewish Resistance member Bernard Fall called it. Ambassador Zvi Mazel did it in 2004 with a similar, satanic show in Stockholm.
Every generation the Jewish people are told just why it is that we need to be killed.

In the Middle Ages in Europe it was because we allegedly murdered Jesus.  In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries it was, at various times and various places, either because we come from a loathsome "race" or because we were agents of international capitalism and, thus, an enemy to the proletariat or because we were agents of international communism and, thus, an enemy to liberal democracy.

In the Arab world, today, we are still considered the "children of apes and pigs" as well as white, western imperial usurpers.  This last bit of hate-filled propaganda came out of the Soviet Union and was spread by western progressives into the Arab Middle East where it was picked up by people such as Yassir Arafat.  Today in the west, through all sorts of political-left blogs and newspapers and think tanks and universities and museums, such as the Jeu de Paume museum, Place de la Concorde, the "invisible tag-line," as Meotti writes, is that “Jews are vermin, Arabs are liberators”.

This is what the western left has come to and what truly slays me is that they still think that they deserve our support.

I tell ya what, when the progressive-left decides that it is going to stand up for universal human rights and decides to stop glorifying the murder of Jewish people then I will consider returning to the movement and throwing my support behind it.

In the mean time, not so much.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Letter From Israel

  elinor        אלינור   


The Learning Curve, Part II

One of the first things I learned after making aliyah was how to get lost in Jerusalem.  My Polish neighbour lady taught me to stand proud on the curb as the bus swooped toward us, and to waggle a forefinger as an unneeded one approached, giving the driver the option of not threatening our lives.  When she rode off in the opposite direction, I would jump on what I thought was the right bus and find myself in a place I might have heard of.  In those days, Israeli bus drivers were trained not to give information.  Assent was signalled with the tiniest nod.  Disagreement produced a barrage of criticism.  Not what I was used to.

Fortunately, street signs and other locators were usually in two or three languages, but that didn’t help when flagging a bus.  Oh, I’d think, I’m in Beit v’Gan.  Imagine my surprise when I realised that I wasn’t.  How to get from here to there was another story.  Somehow I have the kind of face which makes people think I know what I'm doing.  Did the #6 bus pass already?  Is this the direction for downtown?  Do you know the way to San Jose?  I perfected my mini-shoulder-shrug and my can’t-be-bothered-to-answer look.  Never before did I not respond to direct questions.  My character was being reshaped.

I was interviewed for a position which, thanks to my many arcane and frequently unusable talents, I obtained.  The philosophy professor needed someone who could speak, read and write French; edit manuscripts and organise an author's speaking tour of America.  No problem.  I again followed the Hollywood maxim:  If they ask if you can tap dance, say Yes and go out and learn.  I learned.

One thing I learned was this:  Never assume that someone called Shirley is actually named Shirley.  Her name was Shir-li, meaning ‘a song for me’, and she didn’t speak English at all.  Fortunately, she moved on shortly after we met, taking my embarrassment with her.

I began to lead a totally English life, which although it produced scorn among the Israelis, was exactly what I wanted.  The professor and his PA were both completely bilingual and my work barely touched theirs.  But when they were not in the office, I was tasked with answering the telephone.  I was paralysed when the first Hebrew-speaking caller said, If he’s not in the office, please tell him (I was OK to this point): Dadjkfa.  Khat dsfajoef grjaet fsasyde; mfssd.  Mehfq Khan Younis. 

I felt infantilised, three steps worse than feeling like a child.  When I said Khan Younis rang, the professor nodded.  Slowly.  Now I know that Khan Younis is a place.   I was mortified but, on the other hand, he went right out and bought an answering machine.  So being totally ineffectual in areas beyond ones declared competence can be productive.  Hmmm. 

The professor held seminars under the aegis of his Spinoza Institute.  You, he said, will stand at the door and collect the entrance fees:  Students and soldiers free, pensioners half-price, everyone else full fee.  Another wonderful example of my exceeding my competency and I knew it long before the event began.

I stood at the door.  As people arrived, I discovered they didn’t particularly wish to identify themselves, which was no problem with the soldiers.  They whisked right by me, knowing they would get in free, and it’s still like that.  As long as there’s space and those serving their country are in uniform, they’re in.  So that segment of the population was easy.

I assumed that pensioners would be fairly easy, too, but the Hebrew word for them, pension’air’im, was not universally applied.  Some identified themselves as gimla’im, retired, not on pension, able to afford the few shekels’ admission fee.  I had never heard that word and no one had told me that there were two kinds of older people in this world.  I felt, in the Australian way in this kind of situation, quite buggered.

You know the myth about rescuing fair lady?  Happened to me.  I heard a dulcet British-tinged male voice ask Do you need help?  Oh God, did I need help!  He handed me the cash box, asked for and got a 3-second explanation of the fee structure and took over. 

Eventually my hero became a part of my life.  He was divorcing, things were thorny and I was an island of tranquillity—after the seminar, of course.  He lived near Tel Aviv and we had endless phone conversations.  I learned a lot from him, but after my vacation in Canada the following summer, I returned to find him engaged to an Israeli woman whom he recommended as being as clean as I am. Losing him was no great loss.

The professor had hired me on a part-time basis.  As the first year passed, he admitted that he could no longer afford me.  His PA, one of the seminal characters in my early years, decided to find the funding for me, as she deemed me ‘an excellent and creative worker’.  She had discovered that one of the State Ministries was offering two scholarships for recent immigrants. The criteria were murky but she aced it and got one for me.  The other one went to a forestry expert from the Former Soviet Union.  Naturally. 

So I was to be a part-time employee of the professor for another year.  Heaven help us all.

cross posted Israel Thrives

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Kangaroo Valley Torah


This is a true story.

Kangaroo Valley  is a small rural community in the Kangaroo Valley in the Southern Highlands of NSW about 160 kilometres south of Sydney. According to the last census there are only 844 people in the little town and region but very likely there would have been many more a hundred years ago. The region boomed after the passing of the "free selection" land reform legislation in the 1860's and settlers from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland and the towns and cities made claims for plots of prime farm land across the state. 

The Kangaroo River that runs through the valley has a history of floods as angry and dangerous as in many parts of the country. The little town's bridge over the river is Australia's oldest suspension bridge and was completed in 1898 two metres higher than the original timber bridge that washed away in a flood months after it was constructed. These mistakes are not uncommon in Australia. In the mountains to the west of where I live there are the remains of two tall large bridges across the head waters of the Tweed River, arches standing like pyramids,  that didn't last the first wet season after the forties. There are people in Brisbane who are only now able to reclaim homes destroyed in the 2011 flood that swept away miles of pontoons, wharves, decks, moorings, river front restaurants and but for the courage and skill of a tug boat skipper very nearly a bridge from the Brisbane River after the mismanagement of a major dam that was built after the last great flood of 1974 that as a young student I witnessed first hand. 

All but a tiny minority of Australians are new to this country, even those of us who were born here into Australian families and know no other country.  This is a land settled by people who paid scant regard to the indigenous people who had a lot to teach about a land that we still have much to learn. An Australian river in full flood is a terrifying thing to be in the way of and so it would have been one day in the 1920's when the Kangaroo River again burst its banks forcing the people of the town and valley from their homes and farms. 

Among them were Charlie and Hannah Cox  who with family ran the local general store.  But Charlie Cox was an unusual man. After getting his young bride and family to safety he returned to the home to salvage whatever could be saved from the rapidly rising waters and one thing in particular that was precious to Hannah beyond words . An expert horseman as all the men in the valley would have been,  he rode and swam his horse to the abandoned homestead and grabbed and strapped to his belt what he could. From a cupboard he retrieved Hannah's treasured possession, wrapped it in oilskins and belted it tightly to his back. Riding and swimming for miles in torrential rain he and his horse made their escape through the flooded valley to high ground where Hannah waited anxiously.    

What was this object that Charlie Cox, brave man that he indisputably was, risked his life to save without a moment's second thought?  It was a Sefer Torah.  For non-Jewish readers a Sefer Torah is the hand written scroll which records in Biblical Hebrew the Pentateuch, the holiest book in Judaism.  Written by special scribes they can take more than a year to produce and must be faultless. They are produced to the most exacting of standards according to specifications that are from the ages. They are venerated in Jewish religious tradition. The surface must not be touched by human hands. Even the accidental dropping of a Sefer Torah requires the severe atonement of all present and years ago when the Central Synagogue in Sydney burned down destroying the Sefer Torahs it housed, Sydney rabbis directed forty days of mourning and fasting.   

Hannah Cox was Jewish from a Jewish family in Sydney but that does not explain why she was in possession of a Sefer Torah. Sefer Torahs are kept in the "ark" of a synagogue where they are central to the service with a portion read melodically every few days. Once having found a home in a synagogue a Sefer Torah is not supposed to travel. If they move it could only be because the Jews have been moved. 

So how did Hannah Cox come to have a Sefer Torah which her gentile husband rescued from a flood? You can be certain there were no synagogues in Kangaroo Valley and Hannah may have been the only Jew. But the answer lies not in her family's history but in her husband and in Australian history.  

Charlie Cox had been Private Charles Edward Cox of the Australian Fifth Light Horse Regiment who had been a 22 year old tinsmith from Horse Shoe Creek, NSW when he enlisted in Brisbane in the AIF on 19 October 1914 and when his unit embarked for the Middle East on the 21 December 1914 where he was to be wounded in action and awarded the military medal for gallantry. Earlier his regiment saw action at Gallipoli without its horses and later served as long range patrols in the Sinai. In December 1916 it advanced into Palestine when Charlie was wounded most likely in one of the battles for Gaza.

The Australian Light Horse went on to help liberate the land from the Turks along side the allies including the Jewish Legion when after the Balfour Declaration of November 1917 the regiments helped take Jaffa, Haifa and  Jerusalem which was then the only city in the world with a Jewish majority. Almost a century later the Australian government, with incredible insensitivity to both Jewish and Australian history, has adopted a policy that declares as "illegal" Jews living in the wrong part of Jerusalem from which they were ethnically cleansed in 1948. 

The Kangaroo Valley Torah came from Palestine, looted no doubt at some point in the history of the region from a dhimmified and oppressed Jewish community and rescued from a bazaar by Charlie or a comrade who knew what it was and returned with it to Australia where Charlie presented it to his Jewish sweetheart. It had become part of the flotsam of war and revolution that so savagely swept the world. Whether the Torah was native to Palestine or had come to Palestine in the first or second aliyahs with Zionist Jews from Russia or Europe driven by the pogroms of the nineteenth century likely will never be known. Charles was soon to marry Hannah and the Torah became a treasured family heirloom. A family bible with a difference from a time when most families had family bibles.

It is at this point the story gets interesting. 

Charlie and Hannah prospered after the war and they moved north and took over The Wells Hotel in Tweed Heads on the Qld/NSW border before the Second World War. It doesn't look far on a map but Tweed Heads is over a thousand kilometres from Kangaroo Valley, about the same distance as from Istanbul to Jerusalem.  They made a fortune during the war aided no doubt by the presence of thousands of Australian and US servicemen whose armies used the region for "rest and recreation" leave. It's an ill wind etcetera.

Later the family bought and ran for decades the Regal Theatre in Coolangatta literally across the street and interstate and later still built the Tweed Heads Drive-In cinema at the height of the drive-in movie craze of the sixties and seventies. 

So where is the Kangaroo Valley Torah now? It has been many years since I last saw it but I know exactly where it is.

When Charlie and then Hannah passed the Sefer Torah was inherited by their three children , Colin, Valerie and Aileen (now all deceased). For a while Colin served as an alderman on the Gold Coast City Council. When the Gold Coast Hebrew Congregation was formed in Surfers Paradise in the early 1960's Valerie and Aileen were foundation members. Proud Jews all their lives they remained members until their deaths. They donated the Torah to the humble Shul in the sixties a few years before the Six Day War. But it had been damaged in the flood and perhaps in war and first it had to be restored and repaired and for this it was sent first to Sydney for assessment and then to Israel.  The work took more than a year and it cost the family more than a man's annual salary but the work was done and the Torah was returned to Australia for a second time.   

It was presented with all due ceremony and celebration to the tiny synagogue which was then on part of the site where the existing synagogue now stands. And there it has found a permanent home in the  ark of the synagogue where it has rested now for half a century. If you are ever in Surfers Paradise do consider giving Rabbi Gurevitch  a call and ask to see the Kangaroo Valley Torah which has a history that perhaps even he is not aware of and which may well be the most travelled Sefer Torah in all of history. A genuine and sacred relic of Australian history. 

cross posted Israel Thrives. 

A Word To Left Wing Students


Pat Condell has some things to say about bigoted privileged middle class students who shout down those they do not want others to hear.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Questions For Senator The Hon Bob Carr


Dear Senator Carr

The context of these questions is this post on my blog where the questions will also  be posted and regards the Government policy on the Middle East peace process

1. What is the Government's attitude to the so called "Palestinian right of return"? Is the Government aware that this is explicit and "unchangeable" policy of even the "moderate"  factions and is code for the destruction or  "euthanasia" of Israel ?

2 What is the basis of the opinion that  Israeli "settlement activity" is illegal and will the Government release any legal opinion it holds in that regard?

Answers will be posted on my blog and cross posted.


Those questions have been emailed to Bob Carr's office.

Look  at this seductive summing up. 

"Here is the paradox – we know the lineaments – but it is hard to get there. The Israelis are understandably focused on security. The Palestinians on the borders of their state."

That is from Bob Carr's article. It is the essence of what is wrong with this Government's understanding of the paradox. This is because it is exactly wrong.

The "Palestinians" are not focused on the borders of their "state". Not even the"Palestinians" Bob Carr talks to. It is the Israelis who are focused on the borders of their state. The "Palestinians" want no borders and no Israelis.   

The tossing around of legalities in all of this is past tiresome on many levels especially when they are only tossed at Israel. It was perhaps tolerable when a two state solution appeared in reach and therefore the question of the legality of the "settlements" was moot. 

As it is no longer in reach, the "Palestinians" having been encouraged by their "friends" and donors in the West to believe it is not necessary, it is time to confront the lie that Jews building homes for themselves is illegal. 

The whole notion of illegality is based on an interpretation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that is an inversion of reason and principle. This is a legal position of convenience. As such it debases international law.

Friday, July 5, 2013

"He who tells the truth is driven from nine villages."-- Turkish proverb


Pamela Geller is an Islamophobic hate monger. Everyone knows that. That's the label. If you do not agree then it could only be because you are an Islamophobic hate monger yourself. Not wishing to be an Islamophobic hate monger I may have been inclined to agree especially from a position of profound  ignorance. Most people would I suggest and it would not have been necessary to actually see what she has to say. Who wants to waste time listening to an Islamophobic hate monger? 

That's the way labels work.

Then Shirlee sent me a video of Geller speaking at a street rally in Sweden. I didn't put it up but there was nothing she said that I found objectionable. In fact it was stirring. Then there was the controversy about the "war between the civilised man and the ..." poster campaign. Proof the progressives howled she is a racist.

But this is not racist. It is a noble and important principle and it most certainly has application in the modern Middle East. It is the truth.  

The English Defence League are a nasty fringe of right wing racists. Whenever they hold a rally there is trouble.  That's what the progressives and the media say. Well maybe they are. Melanie Philips certainly has serious concerns and does not believe it is a  respectable platform to join. A matter of some controversy in the UK so I'll bud out. After the London street beheading  Shirlee again sent me a video of the the EDL's  leader speaking about the atrocity. All I saw was an earnest and very angry young man talking a lot of sense. No threats. No incitement. No hate. Again I didn't put it up but Daphne Anson did. You can find it at her blog if you are interested. 

The single thread here is the language. One word will get you banned. In the future it might get you jailed.  "Islamism" is OK. "Islam" is not. There's an "ism" for you. The mother of all "isms". Motherism.  If it is missing then you are a racist and it doesn't matter if you are a world authority on Islam you are banned from Britain. But what is and is not "Islam" is entirely up to Muslims. Hacking off someone's head because he is a Jew and making a snuff movie out of it is "Islamic" only if Muslims make it so. The meaning the word is in their hands.

I happen to agree that the distinction is important but what I believe is irrelevant. It is what Muslims believe that is important. It's up to them to make the distinction.But none of this is the point. There is something far more pressing here.

Pat Condell has also coined a new word. I guess there will be many before this is over. Veritophobia. That just blew the top off Google's spellcheck.  Condell on the fear of truth. 

The fascist "anti-fascists". No hope, plenty of hate.

English Defence League mission statement. Disagree with any of this?

EDL leader condemns attacks on Muslims. Listen to the interview and see if you disagree with any of it.

Spencer and Geller banned from the UK for telling the truth

Robert Spencer shows that he knows the Koran better than an imam

Petition to allow Geller and Spencer to speak in the UK

You can contribute to their legal fund to challenge the ban here