Another day and another non-story in Murdoch press over Palestine

This is what pathetic obsession looks like. Murdoch’s Australian has run days and days of furious coverage of the “extremism” of the Greens over its boycott of Israel policy. I may have missed it but the sky hasn’t caved in yet. Perhaps Rupert will organise that shortly.

Today sees yet another piece which doesn’t really say much about anything. When a paper refuses to publish any alternative views on the subject of the Middle East, they don’t look confident; it’s a sign of intellectual weakness that another perspective can’t be handled or heard:

The battle for the soul of the Greens in NSW has intensified, with some elements angry at new rules that will give hard-left senator-elect Lee Rhiannon the right to participate in state parliamentary partyroom meetings.

Conservationists in the party yesterday described the new rules as a continuation of the “Stalinist” control over party affairs exercised by Ms Rhiannon during her 11 years in the state upper house, which ended when she quit to contest a NSW Senate spot last year. Ms Rhiannon declined comment.

Although the Greens do not have official party status in NSW, the partyroom rules have been developed in response to the party’s enlarged numbers following the NSW election last month.

The party will have as many as five upper house MPs and has secured its first lower house representation, with former local mayor Jamie Parker ousting former NSW education minister Verity Firth from her inner-western Sydney seat of Balmain.

Ms Rhiannon, who is seen as a potential leadership rival to Bob Brown, has clashed with Senator Brown even before she takes up her Senate seat in July. Senator Brown last week criticised Ms Rhiannon for her support of a boycott of Israel, which he claimed had cost the Greens a second lower house seat in NSW.

He said the state party’s Israel policy was a mistake.

Fiona Byrne, the party’s candidate in the inner-western Sydney seat of Marrickville, supported an Israel boycott on the local council, but made contradictory claims on whether she would push for a statewide boycott.

During her time in state parliament, Ms Rhiannon clashed frequently with fellow Greens MP Ian Cohen, a noted campaigner on conservation and nuclear issues.

Ben Oquist, a former aide to Mr Cohen, is now Senator Brown’s chief of staff and was repeatedly blocked by Ms Rhiannon from preselection for a state upper house position.

Mr Parker has also been engulfed by the Israel issue, attracting widespread criticism for an online interview in which he accused “progressive Jews” of providing cover for Israel’s “extreme actions”. Mr Parker, who has declined to be interviewed by The Australian since the election, told another newspaper yesterday he supported the policy of the NSW division to boycott Israel.

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies has written to Mr Parker seeking clarification of his remarks reported by online publication New Matilda, which he has since denied making.

Board president Yair Miller said in a statement to The Australian: “We have written to Jamie Parker about his reported comments and the Jewish community’s concern with them and perception of them.”

As mayor of Leichhardt, Mr Parker was instrumental in starting a program that supports the peaceful reunification of Palestine and Israel on the West Bank.

Australian journalist Imre Salusinszky then writes something that asks the “Left” to not obsess so much about Israel because clearly he cares deeply about human rights (well, not the Palestinians mind you, they can be just ignored or mocked):

Opposition groups in Libya and Middle Eastern countries should abandon their protests and return to their homes and workplaces.

These deluded protesters appear to believe their problems stem from the corrupt despots who run their countries.

This is not correct. Their problems stem from a sliver of land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, 470km long and 135km wide at its widest point.

This tiny nation, Israel, is the root cause of all the problems in the region.

How do we know this?

Because we have been taught it for the past 25 years, by Left intellectuals in the West.

This is why it has been so baffling to discover, over recent months, that the populations of those neighbouring countries do not appear to be paying attention.

Why don’t they attend to the message of Marrickville Council, in inner western Sydney, which has imposed a boycott on Israel while leaving relations with Cuba, Zimbabwe and other dictatorships intact?

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