Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein trav­els across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, the United States, Britain, Greece, and Australia to witness the reality of disaster capitalism. He discovers how companies such as G4S, Serco, and Halliburton cash in on or­ganized misery in a hidden world of privatized detention centers, militarized private security, aid profiteering, and destructive mining.

Disaster has become big business. Talking to immigrants stuck in limbo in Britain or visiting immigration centers in America, Loewenstein maps the secret networks formed to help cor­porations bleed what profits they can from economic crisis. He debates with Western contractors in Afghanistan, meets the locals in post-earthquake Haiti, and in Greece finds a country at the mercy of vulture profiteers. In Papua New Guinea, he sees a local commu­nity forced to rebel against predatory resource companies and NGOs.

What emerges through Loewenstein’s re­porting is a dark history of multinational corpo­rations that, with the aid of media and political elites, have grown more powerful than national governments. In the twenty-first century, the vulnerable have become the world’s most valu­able commodity. Disaster Capitalism is published by Verso in 2015 and in paperback in January 2017.

Profits_of_doom_cover_350Vulture capitalism has seen the corporation become more powerful than the state, and yet its work is often done by stealth, supported by political and media elites. The result is privatised wars and outsourced detention centres, mining companies pillaging precious land in developing countries and struggling nations invaded by NGOs and the corporate dollar. Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and across Australia to witness the reality of this largely hidden world of privatised detention centres, outsourced aid, destructive resource wars and militarized private security. Who is involved and why? Can it be stopped? What are the alternatives in a globalised world? Profits of Doom, published in 2013 and released in an updated edition in 2014, challenges the fundamentals of our unsustainable way of life and the money-making imperatives driving it. It is released in an updated edition in 2014.
forgodssakecover Four Australian thinkers come together to ask and answer the big questions, such as: What is the nature of the universe? Doesn't religion cause most of the conflict in the world? And Where do we find hope?   We are introduced to different belief systems – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – and to the argument that atheism, like organised religion, has its own compelling logic. And we gain insight into the life events that led each author to their current position.   Jane Caro flirted briefly with spiritual belief, inspired by 19th century literary heroines such as Elizabeth Gaskell and the Bronte sisters. Antony Loewenstein is proudly culturally, yet unconventionally, Jewish. Simon Smart is firmly and resolutely a Christian, but one who has had some of his most profound spiritual moments while surfing. Rachel Woodlock grew up in the alternative embrace of Baha'i belief but became entranced by its older parent religion, Islam.   Provocative, informative and passionately argued, For God's Sakepublished in 2013, encourages us to accept religious differences, but to also challenge more vigorously the beliefs that create discord.  
After Zionism, published in 2012 and 2013 with co-editor Ahmed Moor, brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution. Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably. This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.
The 2008 financial crisis opened the door for a bold, progressive social movement. But despite widespread revulsion at economic inequity and political opportunism, after the crash very little has changed. Has the Left failed? What agenda should progressives pursue? And what alternatives do they dare to imagine? Left Turn, published by Melbourne University Press in 2012 and co-edited with Jeff Sparrow, is aimed at the many Australians disillusioned with the political process. It includes passionate and challenging contributions by a diverse range of writers, thinkers and politicians, from Larissa Berendht and Christos Tsiolkas to Guy Rundle and Lee Rhiannon. These essays offer perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream. They offer possibilities for resistance and for a renewed struggle for change.
The Blogging Revolution, released by Melbourne University Press in 2008, is a colourful and revelatory account of bloggers around the globe why live and write under repressive regimes - many of them risking their lives in doing so. Antony Loewenstein's travels take him to private parties in Iran and Egypt, internet cafes in Saudi Arabia and Damascus, to the homes of Cuban dissidents and into newspaper offices in Beijing, where he discovers the ways in which the internet is threatening the ruld of governments. Through first-hand investigations, he reveals the complicity of Western multinationals in assisting the restriction of information in these countries and how bloggers are leading the charge for change. The blogging revolution is a superb examination about the nature of repression in the twenty-first century and the power of brave individuals to overcome it. It was released in an updated edition in 2011, post the Arab revolutions, and an updated Indian print version in 2011.
The best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question - on Jewish identity, the Zionist lobby, reporting from Palestine and future Middle East directions - was released by Melbourne University Press in 2006. A new, updated edition was released in 2007 (and reprinted again in 2008). The book was short-listed for the 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Award. Another fully updated, third edition was published in 2009. It was released in all e-book formats in 2011. An updated and translated edition was published in Arabic in 2012.

Departing ALP member tells of deep Zionist influence in party

My following article appears in today’s Crikey:

The departing Labor member for Fowler, Julia Irwin, has revealed the deep influence of the Zionist lobby on the ALP and the inner workings of her party towards the Middle East in an exclusive interview with Crikey.

Irwin says Israel must engage with Hamas, argues that the two-state solution may be a lost cause, remains open to backing a cultural and academic boycott of Israel and provides unprecedented details about the Zionist lobby’s capture of newly minted Labor MPs.

Irwin claims that her statements on the Israel/Palestine conflict over the years “have been broadly in line” with party policy and urges “an active role for the United Nations in the peace process”. Such a view “upset Israel supporters in Caucus” from 2002 onwards. Irwin comments that the UN is generally backed by the ALP — note the party’s opposition to the Iraq war due to a lack of UN support — but the Middle East crisis is seemingly different.

“When I put the question of UN involvement to [current Israeli Defence Minister] Ehud Barak when he visited Australia, he almost exploded,” she says.

Irwin stands firm on her belief that the UN is central to solving the conflict.

When asked to explain why virtually every Labor MP backs Israel uncritically, Irwin responds that Zionist lobby free trips to Israel are central to cementing views. “Many members and senators from right-wing unions have had close links with the Israeli union movement over the years and have maintained entrenched views.”

AWU boss and Labor aspirant Paul Howes is constantly backing Israeli unions in the public sphere, despite the call by Palestinian civil society to boycott such groups due to their connection to maintenance of the West Bank occupation.

Irwin tells me that her critical stance — best revealed in two recent speeches in parliament, one calling for a full investigation of the massacre on the Mavi Marmara and the other condemning increased Israeli colonisation in Palestine — has cost her some friends in the ALP. “I should add that many of my colleagues these days begin a conversation with the remark, ‘I know we don’t see eye to eye on the Middle East but’ …”

She repeated her claim in a recent Sydney Morning Herald article that Labor power-broker Mark Arbib [alongside ALP officials and NSW Jewish treasurer Eric Roozendaal] have demanded her speeches be vetted before presentation. But she reveals to Crikey that it went further:

“[I was told I should] visit the Holocaust Museum, visit Israel and meet with members of various Jewish organisations [but] these requests have not been followed up.  After one speech on Palestine, the ALP chief whip tore up my application for leave from the House when I was to attend an Inter Parliamentary Union meeting in Geneva. This was later approved but not before some emotional displays on both sides.”

Significantly, Irwin says that she “enjoyed strong support from many rank-and-file members of the ALP” after a speech or statement on Israel/Palestine and would receive mountains of positive letters and emails. “There is obviously a strong groundswell of support within the ALP for a more independent position when it comes to the Israel/Palestine conflict.”

There is no evidence that Prime Minister Julia Gillard is even willing to entertain this issue, placing blind backing for Israel as one of her key foreign policy objectives. Opposition leader Tony Abbott is no different.

Irwin says that former leader Simon Crean called her many years ago to briefly discuss the Middle East but until recently neither Kevin Rudd nor Julia Gillard had approached her:

“Then, strangely, at the Caucus meeting on the Tuesday before he was deposed as Prime Minister, I had gone up to Kevin to ask him to sign a hardback edition of The True Believers which had been signed by all Party leaders from Gough Whitlam.  Kevin was surprisingly friendly and inquired about the reaction of supporters of the Palestinian cause to the government’s handling of the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat over the theft of Australian passports and his statement calling for an inquiry into the Mavi Marmara incident.  His remarks led me to believe that there had been some change in the government’s position with regard to Israel even if it was only a small step from being totally uncritical.”

Irwin laments the lack of MPs speaking out on Palestine (except Victorian MP Maria Vamvakinou and West Australian MP Melissa Parke) and blames enormous pressure from ALP officials. Furthermore, “most members regard Foreign Affairs as a specialist policy area and rarely make public statements on these matters. Tibet, Burma and Zimbabwe would be exceptions”. But Irwin continually spoke out over Palestine.

Irwin’s departure from parliament will leave virtually nobody from the major parties to speak critically about the Middle East.

She tells Crikey, without revealing the name, that “at least one ALP member receives big donations from Palestinian interests but is silent on the issue.” Irwin says she has never received donations from groups with “direct links to Palestinian interests”.

Irwin cites the belief within the party that “support for Palestine will swiftly end any prospect of a front bench position. Even a hint of offence can result in an immediate unconditional apology.” She continues:

“For all MPs there is the desire to ‘play it safe’.  Why make enemies over an issue which does not directly affect your local community? And I have to add that many Labor members have an intense dislike of Arabic people. That’s something that comes across in their less-guarded moments.  They will talk about human rights abuse in every corner of the world, but not Palestine.”

One of the least understood realities of modern politics is the insidious influence of unelected lobbyists on the political process. Irwin is remarkably forthcoming in detailing how the Zionist lobby operates within the ALP:

“On the Labor side (and as far as I know the same applies to the Liberals), a newly selected member for a winnable seat is hosted to a private fund raising dinner.  A table full of Jewish businessmen are happy to hand over $10,000 for the candidate’s first campaign.  That’s a big bonus for a new member and many never forget the generosity. I was never afforded such an honour but I can say that I would have been suspicious of the motive.”

Irwin also cites the never-ending free trips to Israel — “a visit to Israel is almost a rite of passage for new MPs and Senators” and display by hosts of “backward Arabs threatening such an enlightened society” — and acknowledges that the lobby needs backing across the political aisle. “It cannot afford to snub Labor even if most Jewish voters live in blue ribbon Liberal seats.” Labor’s closeness to the lobby is well documented.

She tells Crikey that although she survived four terms in parliament, “I have no doubt that senior ALP figures have promised to end my career on more than one occasion.  At the grass roots level, in the branches and the wider electorate, the lobby has no influence.  Only at the highest levels can a member be threatened. But a party which allows that to happen is not worthy of public support.”

Once a strong believer in the two-state solution, today Irwin wonders if Israel has “passed the point of no return” with ongoing colonisation across the West Bank and isolation of Gaza. “There can be no ethnic cleansing of the occupied territories,” she warns and urges “unconditional engagement” with Hamas to facilitate a peace treaty. She remains pessimistic of future prospects. “Despite the belief of the Israeli leadership, time is not on their side.”

Irwin raises the possibility of backing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, a growing global movement to non-violently pressure Israel to embrace true democracy in Israel and Palestine or face increasing isolation.

The departing MP says that she grew up greatly admiring Jews and was shamed “at our complicity of abuse and discrimination against Jewish people” but “now I ask, what has changed? How could such a people condone the oppression of others?”

Irwin believes Israel can survive economic isolation but, like apartheid South Africa, the Jewish state “cannot survive a cultural and academic boycott … While politically Israel lurches further to the right, Israelis must come to realise that they are all judged by the actions of their leaders.”

While both major political parties continue pandering to Israel’s pro-settler fringe, the BDS movement is exploding everywhere, including Australia.

34 comments ↪
  • paul walter

    That is a discomforting post from Ant.
    You really do feel like shrivelling up in embarrassment at some of the politics that goes on in this country.

  • Sol Salbe

    It's probably the fading memory of an old bloke like me, but for the life of me I can't recall Ehud Barak visiting Australia. Any chance of Ms Irwin or you refreshing my memory?

  • annette brownlie

    Thankyou Julia!
    We need some prominent Australians to take part in the next flotilla to break the seige on Gaza. Would you consider this?
    and can you think of other prominent Australians to ask?
     

  • AQaH

    will sol and abigail please share some of that humble pie – us palestinians have not much to eat in gaza, so we’ll eat any pie!

  • Fay Waddington

    I am so sorry to see Julia Irwin leave.  Can someone confirm if she left voluntarily or was pushed becasue of her stand for Palestinians.  I am appalled at the pro Zionist position on both sides.  This unresoslved conflict has ramifications for international terrorism.  I admire greatly the Jews in the diaspora and even within Israel who see the problems posed by zionism. Unfortunately those older ones like Tony Judt are dying off.  Long live Anthony L. 

  • Abigail Thornton

    No Sol Salbe, I don't think he has been here. I cannot recall at all. I've been here 44 years.

     

    I also just did extensive searches and came up with gornisht!!

     

    I wouldn't take much notice of the self opinionated, self hater Anthony Lowenstein.

     

    As for Julia Irwin, she is a bitter person and if she looked for the truth, she might well find it.

  • Aide B

    FYI: Ehud Barak was in Australia in March 2003.

    http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/genpdf/chambe
    HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

    Main Committee

    ADJOURNMENT

    Barak, Mr Ehud

    SPEECH

    Thursday, 27 March 2003

    BY AUTHORITY OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
    http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/03/30/1048
    Greed

    March 31 2003

    Edited by Eli Greenblat

    Rich and powerful greet Barak

    Rich and powerful business supporters of Melbourne's Jewish community gathered for drinks at Kerry Packer's Crown Towers late last week for a private briefing with former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak. Barak, one of Israel's leading generals turned politician, briefed the assembled businessmen and women on the future of the Middle East, and in particular Iraq and Israel.

  • Aide B

    More links about Ehud Barak's visit to Australia in March 2003 below.

    It's very easy to find this information, whatever were you googling Abigail?!
    http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2003/s8172
    Broadcast: 26/03/2003

    Barak on Iraq situation

    Well, we're joined now by former Israeli prime minister and former army chief of staff, Ehud Barak.

    He's in our Canberra studio.

    http://www1.waverley.nsw.gov.au/info/columns/2003
    Meeting with Ehud Barak

    I was invited recently by the Premier to accompany him to meet with the former Labor Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Barak. It was interesting to hear Mr. Barak's views on the current situation in the Middle East and his hopes for long-term peace in the area.

  • Mrgot Salom

    I am sorry to hear that Julia Irwin is leaving but I can understand her frustration particularly about this issue.   In 2005 I wrote this letter to her at the time when she had received much criticism from her own Party because of her remarks about Gaza as a "ghetto":

    "This is another prime example of the "silencing of dissent" that is ubiquitous in the Australian Jewish community.  "Thou shalt not criticize Israel"  (the 11th commandment).  Other recent examples are the attempts to silence a book as yet unpublished edited by Antony Loewenstein, from the Member for Melbourne Ports Michael Danby, who not only attacked the author Loewenstein but also his proposed publisher, Louise Adler of Melbourne University Press.   The other recent instance was the successful silencing of the visiting Israeli academic and author of "Apartheid Israel", Uri Davis who was to give an address to the National Press Club until it was cancelled following threats of legal action by the Jewish National  Fund.

     

     The expression "ghetto" in relation to the so-called Security Wall has been used by many others – including the eminent American -Jewish theologian and philosopher Marc H. Ellis who has said : (2004: 271-285):"

     

        "the ghettoization of a people has consequences beyond the act of physical separation:   a  ghettoized people suffers, and

         those who build and maintain the ghettos ultimately suffer.   Like the effects of occupation, the particular histories of the ghettoized

        and   those who ghettoize have less to do with the long range effects of such a reality than with the general rules that we can study

        throughout  history, be they Jews, South Africans, African- Americans, or Palestinians.

     

    There can be no denial that the policy of "transfer" that is openly discussed within the Israeli government is other than "ethnic cleansing" –  what else can it be called?"

    As a matter of interest I am a 'self'loving Jew' as I believe is Antony Loewenstein.  ( Note this please Abigail)  I am taking  this stance because I love being Jewish and I ty to live and to uphold the humane tradition of Judaism – not the political philosphy of Zionism – there is a vast difference for your information.

  • Abigail Thornton

    Thanks Aide B… I looked and looked and came up with nothing. I don’t even recall it…strange ?
    AQaH……. ** palestinians have not much to eat in gaza, so we’ll eat any pie!**
    Palestinians, so where do you come from, there is no such place.?
    There never was, nor is there a country called Palestine, it is a region  of some 118,000 sq kilometres. The people who live there are called Palestinian Arabs, Palestinian Jews, Palestinian Christians and Bedouins.
    As for not much to eat in Gaza, you living in la-la land.?  You need to do some reading. Here’s a whole list of URLs for you, including from Arab countries
    Well no , because this weird site is calling URLs spam?/
    Search Water Park Gaza….Search Aldiera Hotel Gaza and Grand Palace Hotel Gaza and that’s on Facebook too


    In an article in the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram on the economic situation in the Gaza Strip, journalist Ashraf Abu Al-Houl wrote about the burgeoning recreation industry and of the low merchandise prices.
    Also as part of the interest in the economic situation in Gaza, the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published articles describing the expensive resorts that have been established for Gaza’s newly rich, and a Palestinian website reported on the new mall recently opened in the city.

    Search Gaza Mall
    http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article85981.ece
    Gaza’s markets and shops.
    Roots Club
    Spas and resorts
    Lauren Booth shopping in a supermarket stocked to the brim, also having breakfast at one of Gaza’s luxury hotels, only moments before she declared there was no food in Gaza.




     

  • Aaron

    Don’t be an arsehole Abigail.
    Eighty per-cent of Palestinians in Gaza require UN food-aid to survive. Malnourishment is bad enough that 10-15% of children’s growth is being stunted.
    Full supermarket shelves mean nothing to people who have no money. Because of the blockade on Gaza the economy has collapsed and unemployment is anywhere from 50 and 80%. At the height of the Great Depression unemployment in the US was 22%.
    Do you understand?
    What kind of sick individual can look at this Israeli-made catastrophe and then then try to convince us life is good in Gaza?

  • Fay Waddington

    By the way I did send an email to every member of the lower house in federal parliament a couple of years ago asking them to tell me if they had ever visited Israel at other than there own expense.  I receive less that a handful of replies.  One was from Wayne Swan who said he had been on some sort of scholarship (which name I have now forgotten)   I think he only felt it necessary to reply because we pass each other from time to time on the same walking track (we live in the same suburb). 

  • David

    Time for some real debate on this issue in the Labour movement. Supporting occupation and oppression of any people is not what the labour movement is about. Human and civil rights demands consistency for credibility

  • Sebastian

    Abigail a "Self-hater" ?  Can you explain what does this term means ? It sounds like something a Nazi Freudian would use. As a form of argument it is so lame and moronic I am amazed a person who has any intellectual integrity would actually use it in public. I guess someone who did is truly "self-opinionated " and arrogant. Albert Einstein for telling you zionazt creeps to  jump was he one too ?

  • Abigail Thornton

    Oh dear another person who can't read.

     

    A UN official in Gaza said a few days ago that there are no food shortages. Shame I didn't keep the link. Publications world wide are saying likewise, from the Pal Times, to the Qatar Peninsular, to der Spiegel, to Swedish, British, Spanish, Australian and American web sites.

     

    You've been brainwashed. It's all a proaganda show

     

    There's an interesting video on Youtube and a view from the window during Operaiton Cast Lead, is quite funny and especially as there is a war in progress and that Gaza City has been supposedly reduced to ruins !! LOL !!

     

    Not a ruin in sight, cars driving around on a bright sunny day. It was filmed by al Jezzera

     

    I just received this and it is what I have said all along.

     

    PALESTINIANS BOYCOTTING ISRAEL

    ONLY BOYCOTTS PALESTINIANS

     
    http://www.shoebat.com/blog/archives/355

  • Abigail Thornton

    If you and you ilk say you want to help the Gazan Arabs, why don't you actually send aid and not set out to cause trouble?

     

    On the last flotilla ,only four of the boats contained any aid,and none at all on the ship designated to cause trouble, the Mavi Mamara

     

    Most of the good were unusable. Drugs out of date and others ruined by bad packing. There was not even anywhere near as much as Israel delivers daily

     

    That whole excercise was nothing more than provacation by the IHH. i feel sorry for the people who genuinely wanted to help and thought they were

     

  • Aaron

    I can't read? Abigail, how about you address what I actually wrote:

    "Full supermarket shelves mean nothing to people who have no money."

    There may not be food shortages in Gaza, but there is a chronic shortage of money to buy that food with, because the Gazan economy has been destroyed by Israel – and the PR stunt known as "The Easing Of The Blockade" has done nothing to change that situation. The collective punishment of the civilian population in Gaza by zionist jews continues. Cheered on by people such as yourself.

    Yes, it sure is a shame you didn't keep the link – but then hasbarists like yourself have a habit of referring to "facts" that can't be substantiated. The UN's position on Gaza is well known and it's highly critical of Israel.

    Christopher Gunness from UNRWA on SBS talking about the absurd claim "there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza":

    "Utter nonsense"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyJfd4EjiXg
    Abigail, how do people with no money buy food? Why are 80% of Palestinians in Gaza dependent on food-aid? Malnutrition in children?

  • Abigail Thornton

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    These are not my words

    <!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

    With all the bleeding hearts condemning Israel, one should consider some facts when it comes to aid in relation to Gaza and Palestinians in general.

    UNHCR (established 1950)

    34.4 million world refugees (except those Palestinians), over 118 areas

    a budget of about 2,000 million dollars,

    a staff of 6,650 people.

    UNRWA (established 1949)

    4.7 million Palestinian refugees, over 5 areas

    a budget of about 545.66 million dollars

    a staff of over 25,000 people.

    UNRWA has TWICE the funding per refugee as UNHCR does

    UNRWA has 1 staff for every 188 Palestinians; UNHCR has 1 staff for every 5,173 refugees.

    Why do we call them the ‘poor Palestinians’ when they receive superior funding and staffing to the rest of the world? Why doesn’t the UN dismantle UNRWA and give the job to UNHCR which is more efficient?

    <!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

    More FACTS

    Life Expectancy

    Gaza : 73.7 years ( 4 times World average)

    Turkey : 72.2 years

    Russia: 65.94 year,

    The Bahamas: 65.72 years.

    India: 69.25 years.

    Ukraine : 68.06 years.

    Glasgow East (in Scotland: 69.3 years

    Infant Mortality

    Gaza: 17.7 per 1,000

    Turkey: 24.8 per 1,000

    Angola: 182.31 deaths per 1,000 ..

    Iran: 36.93 deaths per 1,000

    India: 32.31 deaths /1,000 ..

    Egypt : 28.36 deaths per 1,000 .

    Brazil: 26.67 deaths per 1,000

    Literacy rate

    Gaza : 92.4 %

    Turkey: 88.7%

    India: 47.8 %

    Egypt: 59.4%

    Saudi Arabia: 70.8 %.

    Gaza has a better life expectancy, infant mortality and literacy rate than Turkey.

    Maybe we need a Gaza flotilla to help Turkey?

    Gaza receives per capita about 1,000 times what most of Africa receives.

    A quote from a Journalist for a Japanese newspaper:

    “Gaza and the West Bank are the only places in the world where I have seen refugees drive Mercedes.

    <!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

  • Abigail Thornton

    What do you mean here?

     

    "Yes, it sure is a shame you didn’t keep the link – but then hasbarists like yourself have a habit of referring to “facts” that can’t be substantiated"

     

    Firstly, I read a huge amount from many  quarters. That's how come I take the view that I do, because I can separate truth from fiction.  I also do not keep much that I read, as why would I keep the link

     

    True to type, you run to insults, if that is what your comment intended, which I am sure it did.

     

    As for "but then hasbarists like yourself"  I have no idea what you are talking about and won't waste time researching it, as I am sure it is intended as an insult .

  • Aaron

    FAIL Abigail.

    Your pathetic meme that life is good in Gaza – that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza – is utterly unconvincing.

    Unemployment is a simple to understand statistic of the health of an economy. The wikipedia page on the Great Depression (the graph pegs max US unemployment at 22% – the figure I previously quoted):

    "The Great Depression had devastating effects in virtually every country, rich and poor. <a title="Personal income" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_income&quot; rel="nofollow">Personal income, tax revenue, profits and prices dropped. while international trade plunged by &frac12; to ⅔. Unemployment in the U.S. rose to 25%, and in some countries rose as high as 33%."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Depression
    So if unemployment in Gaza is somewhere between 50 and 80%, why would you continue to claim life is good in Gaza? Obviously, it's not, and only a liar and a propagandist would say so.

    For that matter, the economy and situation for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank is also a disaster – especially in Area C which is described by the chairty Save The Children as being "worse than Gaza":
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXvP3Jq6KXg
    Again Abigail, only a liar or propagandist would deny this Israeli-made catastrophe exists.

  • Aaron

     

    And I'm equally unconvinced you don't know what hasbara is. Anybody who would so consciously spend time white-washing collective punishment and ethnic cleansing by Israelis knows exactly what hasbara is.

    For those who don't – who wonder why they encounter so much fact-free pro-Israeli propaganda:

    "Hasbara Spam Alert"
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/
    You can even read the manuals (there are at least two):

    (from 2002) "Hasbara Handbook: Promoting Israel on Campus"
    http://www.muzzlewatch.com/2009/03/19/hasbara-han
    and the more recent version from 2009, The Israel Project's "Global Language Dictionary"
    http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2009

     

  • Aaron

    The PDF link for the "Global Language Dictionary" in Silverstein's article is broken but you can download the PDF here:
    http://australiansforpalestine.com/2980
    – – – – –

    Say Abigail, ever heard of citing your sources? I guess not – then you'd have to expose those statistics you're quoting came from the crackpot islamaphobic site "Australian Islamist Monitor". Right?
    http://islammonitor.org/index.php?option=com_cont
    Naturally the author "Geoff Dickson" doesn't bother to cite *his* sources either.

  • Abigail Thornton

    Oh dear!!

     

    I presumed correctly, proven wrong and you resort to name calling.

    So typical.

     

    Just a point, my figures came from an Amnesty site. I have just quickly been through my today’s history, but it is extensive, as I have been working on line. I can’t find it without taking considerable time, which I don’t have.  I can’t say you’ll have to believe me, because you obviously come from a very different world to me, where you don’t take people on their word.…..so sad.  What a dreadful life you must lead.

     

    Truly pathetic, I feel sorry for you.

     

    Quoting from the Guardian either, doesn’t give you any credibility, that publication has a proven history of falsifications.

     

    Who do you believe, or what do you chose to,  is a more apt point here. ?

    I quoted from the Pal Telegraph and the Qatar Peninsular, there were also like stories in Al Ahram, European  sources and ME papers, to which I subscribe.  I deliberately haven't quoted from UK, US or Israeli news outlets and indeed the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

    The  ABC has a morning radio show, in which they highlighted there were no food shortages in Gaza a couple of months back.  The BBC, had on line articles too.  This was rather surprising and in complete contrast to their normal anti Israel rhetoric, considering they are both decidedly left in their thinking and anti Israel, have both quoted how there is no food shortage in Gaza.

    <!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

    My information comes from many sources, not the biased one sided ones, you chose to quote from.  I find that the oil rich Gulf States to be on side far more with Israel, than those whose who call for the destruction of Jews and Israel in their Charters.

    By the way, I did put plenty of links, but this web site would not let me post them , it was  classed as “Spam”

    <!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

    I glanced at the obnoxious site you quoted from, looks like pure lies to me. I will read the document later.

    <!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

    By the way..which part of the region of Palestine are Australians for?

    Jordan, I think occupies some 78% of it. The remainder is divided amongst Israel, Gaza and the West Bank .

  • Aaron

    Abigail – stop deflecting.

    I never said their was a food shortage in Gaza, the problem is that people can't afford to buy it because Israel has destroyed the economy – which you don't have the courage to face.

    Tell me how more than 50% unemployment in Gaza and 80% of Palestinians needing food-aid to survive is not a humanitarian catastrophe – made in, by and for Israel. In fact tell me how (besides geography and time) Gaza is any different than the Warsaw Ghetto?

    Again you refer to a source (Amnesty) which you can't actually provide a link to. Try this on for size, the June 2010 statement issued by Amnesty International:

    'Suffocating Gaza – The Israeli Blockade's Effects On Palestinians'
    http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/suffoc
    A few highlights:

    "Mass unemployment, extreme poverty and food price rises caused by shortages have left four in five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. As a form of collective punishment, Israel’s continuing blockade of Gaza is a flagrant violation of international law."

    "Much of the available food is provided by the UN and other aid agencies, or smuggled in through tunnels running under the Egypt-Gaza border and then sold on at exorbitantly high prices to Gaza’s beleaguered residents."

    "Rather than targeting armed groups, the blockade mainly hits the most vulnerable, such as children (who make up more than half of the population in Gaza), the elderly, the sick and the Gaza Strip’s large refugee population.   According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the number of refugees living in abject poverty in the Gaza Strip has tripled since the blockade began. These families lack the means to purchase even the most basic items, including soap, school materials and clean drinking water. According to the UN, more than 60 per cent of households are currently “food insecure”."

    "with many residents enduring 8-12 hours of power cuts each day. "

    " humanitarian supplies from international aid agencies into Gaza, these are strictly limited and frequently delayed."

    "Gaza’s health sector has been plagued by shortages in equipment and medical supplies during the blockade."

    "The Israeli authorities frequently delay or refuse these permits; some Gazans have died while waiting to obtain permits to leave the territory for medical treatment elsewhere. World Health Organization (WHO) trucks of medical equipment bound for Gazan hospitals have repeatedly been turned away, without explanation, by Israeli border officials"

    "Operation “Cast Lead” – which Israel said it carried out to stop Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups firing indiscriminate rockets into Israel. More then 1,380 Palestinians were killed, including more than 300 children and other civilians, and thousands were injured. Many thousands of homes were destroyed or severely damaged, as were the electricity and water systems. Civilian buildings, including hospitals and schools, were also damaged or destroyed by Israeli attacks. Operation “Cast Lead” pushed the humanitarian crisis in Gaza to catastrophic levels. Since it concluded, the blockade has severely hampered or prevented reconstruction efforts. With many construction materials barred or limited by Israel, Gaza’s inhabitants are unable to rebuild their shattered lives."

    "Israeli soldiers also continue to shoot at Palestinian farmers, fishermen and other civilians when they venture near Gaza’s perimeter or approach the three nautical mile limit that Israel imposes on Gaza’s coastline causing deaths and injuries."

    "whatever its stated justification, the blockade is collectively punishing the entire population of Gaza, the majority of whom are children, rather than targeting the Hamas administration or armed groups. "

    Now go find that "Amnesty" article you claim to have read stating Palestinians are living the high life in Gaza. I know you came up stumps when looking to see if Barak had visited Australia, but try again:

    Google dot com

    I challenge you to prove you aren't lying.

    *Who are you quoting again Abigail – the Palestine Times or the Palestine Telegraph ? Again, how about a real link, not some lame excuses.

  • Abigail Thornton
  • Aaron

    Very original, circulated widely by Hasbarists  at the end of last year as "proof" of The Good Life in Gaza. You should also provide me with the menu of the one fine-dining restaurant in Gaza with photos (including photos of Abbas – who hadn't been in Gaza since before the blockade) and also some press about the new mall that recently opened in Gaza.

    So predictable Abigail. I know all your dumb propaganda.

    Now how about that Amnesty ? And addressing the catastrophic unemployment and 80% of Gazans who need UN food-aid to survive.

  • Aaron

    "Now how about that Amnesty link ?"

  • Abigail Thornton

    Check back to 5.36

    I can't possibly go through my whole history. I had a quick look, but I can't and also can't be bothered

    I don't lie, so if you choose not to believe I feel sorry for you

  • ALP tries to out Likud the Likud

    Shayne NeumannMLA for Blair in Qld spoke at a ALP/Union Forum titled A two state solution to the Israel Palestine conflict held at Qld parliament on Remembrance Day, 11<sup>th</sup> November 2009.

    Shayne Neumann began by saying that the ALP had always supported the two state solution ever since Doc Evatt(2)was in the UN and voted for Resolution 181 which was the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine in 1947, setting up the state of Israel. Another prominent ALP leader Arthur Caldwell led 35 thousand Jewish refugees to Israel, he said. He applauded the motion at the recent ALP national conference where Dr Mike Kelly and Warren Mundine recommitted the ALP to a two-state solution by supporting the latest peace initiative and demanding secure borders for Israel. He said that both Deputy Prime Minister Gillard and Foreign Minister Smith in a speech on 19 May 2009 underlined the need for sovereign rights for Israel. He claimed that the ALP had held this same position on Israel for decades. He said that different colonial powers had influenced the region for 'decades, no millennia'. He was in favour of a viable state in Palestine.

    He read out statistics from Israeli government prepared document about 8,000 rockets being launched from Gaza after Israel withdrew. The document said that 3,000 were launched in 2008. Neumann said that Israel had every right to defend itself. He read out that Palestinians 'had fired Kassam rockets since Israel's 100% withdrawal from Gaza'. He quoted numbers and said that the Qassam rocket attacks were carried out in Sderot and elsewhere, that 'rockets fell on a kindergarten, a synagogue, a school.'

    Jeff Knight from the Plumbers union said that Shayne Neumann had repeatedly asserted that there was equal blame (in the conflict) on both (Palestinian and Israeli) sides. He asked what could the Israelis do tomorrow to resolve the conflict? He said that Israel could release 10,000 Palestinain prisoners, Israel could allow medicines into Gaza and permit sick people to leave, they could stop building settlements and withdraw from the West Bank. He said that there were a lot of things that Israel could do tomorrow there were very few things that the Palestinians could do to solve the conflict.

    Shayne Neumann said that Hamas could stop firing Kassam rockets. The members of the QPA present said that they had stopped firing rockets. Shayne Neumann said that the blockade would end if Hamas 'signed a binding guarantee' that they would 'cease smuggling arms and weapons into Gaza'. He appeared to be reading from notes when he said this. Members of the audience said that Hamas were bringing in food and medicines through the tunnels (into Gaza) as well.

    There was a final question from a unionist who asked why Shayne Neumann was determined to sound more like the Likud than the Likud (7). He asked if the large donations to the Australian Labor Party by the Israeli lobby had anything to do with the ALP's pro-Israel stance (to much applause from one section of the room). Senator Claire Moore said that in the circumstances it was best that she answer the question. She said that donations to the party have absolutely nothing to do with their policy making, that the two are separate. Shayne Neumann interjected that he would fit comfortably in the Israeli Labour Party.

    Read more at http://workersbushtelegraph.com.au/2009/11/12/a-%

  • Abigail Thornton
  • Aaron

    There's no link at your 5.35 post.

    You're just makin' stuff up.

  • Sol Salbe

    AQaH,

    I don't know Abigail Thornton, and by the sound of it would be very happy for that state of affairs to continue. I was asking the question because I couldn't remember and had a problem with Google. I did check with a Palestinian activist and he couldn't remember it either. I would ascribe our memory lapse (my friend is a lot younger than me) not to just to age. Barak being an ordinary citizen at the time busily amassing a fortune, must have slipped under our radar. (Couldn't find records of any demos against him.) He's certainly somebody against whom I would demonstrate. I agree with Shulamit Aloni. In her book he has been Israel's worst ever Prime Minister (and that's some distinction.)

    Rest assured that If I disagreed with any of AL or anyone else's assertions I would not be posing a question but making a statement. And in 42 years of supporting Palestinian human rights I have occasionally had to eat humble pie. And would probably eat it again in the future, nobody's perfect.

  • Kevin Charles Herber

    Abigail Thornton is clearly just another Zionist liar…..

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