So the New York Times features a story this week headlined, “Washington Asks: What to Do About Israel?” Its opening sentence:
Some topics are so inflammatory that they are never discussed without first inserting a number of caveats.
Of course in Australia any serious discussion about Israeli policy or Australia’s relationship with the Jewish state is tantamount to treason and the Zionist lobby is in overdrive. Their paranoia, insecurity and bullying shows the wider community a few things: Jews don’t like debate, Jews can’t handle open discussion about the Middle East and Jews demand to get their own way. Wonderful ways to further stereotypes, people:
Jewish leaders have cried foul over Fairfax Media’s reporting of the Gaza crisis, after chief correspondent Paul McGeough likened Israeli forces to hyenas as they hunted down protesters.
McGeough and photographer Kate Geraghty were on a ship in the flotilla as it tried to breach the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip on Monday.
Nine activists, eight of them Turks, died as Israeli commandos intercepted the flotilla.
In his account of the incident yesterday, McGeough said the Israeli forces “tightened the noose” on the protest convoy.
“Sneaking up and around every boat, there were bullet-shaped hulks which soon became impossible to hide,” he wrote. “They hunted like hyenas — moving up and ahead on the flanks; pushing in, then peeling away; and finally, lagging before lunging.”
Executive Council of Australian Jewry executive director Peter Wertheim said McGeough’s role on the convoy was to espouse anti-Israel propaganda.
McGeough’s sneering comment likening Israeli forces to hyenas gives away his bias, as does his failure to report on the links of the (Turkish extremist group) IHH to Hamas, al-Qa’ida and other jihadi groups.
“The alleged humanitarian purpose of the Gaza flotilla was a sham. It was intended as an exercise in propaganda and there can be no doubt that McGeough was there to further that purpose.”
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein said McGeough’s language was “inflammatory” and ignored the extremist elements behind the flotilla.
Australians for Palestine spokesman Michael Shaik said McGeough’s hyena comparison was “a colourful description but I wouldn’t call it inaccurate”.
He denied the operation had been orchestrated by the IHH, saying he devised the idea in 2006, even before Hamas seized control of Gaza. Mr Shaik complained that for the first three days of the crisis, international observers had heard only the Israeli point of view.
Comment was being sought from Fairfax Media.
On Tuesday, I met with the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister to discuss a number of measures that would establish clearly Australia’s on going partnership with Israel. So a group of senior Australian Jewish leaders including Robert Goot (EIJAC), Albert Dadon (AICE), Mark Leibler (AIJAC) and Philip Chester (ZF) attended with myself and Mark Dreyfus a meeting at the Lodge with the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. A number of other positive suggestions were made and will be revealed in time.
Get ready for some grovelling of the highest order.