A politician’s desire to shut down Israel debate

The Australian newspaper ran an extract of Michael Danby MP’s attack on Independent Australian Jewish Voices blogger Michael Brull and yours truly on the weekend (more about the news here). Below is our unpublished response:

MP Michael Danby’s outrageous attack on us (Cut and Paste,12/9) is motivated by one wish: to prevent anyone from challenging Israel’s horrifying treatment of the Palestinians. He singles out our criticisms of Israel at the start of the year during the Gaza war. Israeli human rights group B’Tselem spent months investigating Israel’s attack on the Strip and found that Israel killed 1387 Palestinians in the slaughter. Of this number, 330 were combatants. Apparently, Danby regards it as anti-Semitic to object to the mass killing of over a thousand non-combatant Palestinians, in an assault that had no credible pretext, given Israel’s rejection of a ceasefire. The terms of this ceasefire were that Israel had to stop attacking Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank and end the siege on Gaza. According to the New York Times, Israel counts the calories allowed into Gaza. The Red Cross report that children’s growth is stunted because of how little food they are getting due to the blockade. Israel could have avoided the conflict and the small number of rockets fired by choosing not to starve Palestinian children. It chose otherwise.

Some of us find this choice, which continues, barbaric. Former adviser to Ariel Sharon, Dov Weisglass, found it funny. “It’s like an appointment with a dietitian”, he said. “The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won’t die”. Danby is shocked that anyone should be allowed to publicly voice disapproval, forgetting the views of his Labor colleagues, Julia Irwin and others, in the process.

Antony Loewenstein
Michael Brull

Sydney, NSW

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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