I’ve spent years being told that my work on the Middle East was extreme, irrelevant and dangerous and therefore should be ignored. Alas, this didn’t stop a litany of critics continually speaking out against it. Threatened much?
This is how we should see the ongoing Murdoch campaign against the Australian Greens and its policy towards Israel/Palestine. The embarrassing Australian campaign against the party shows a profoundly dishonest agenda and one that will probably only increase its vote. Bullying is such a good look for a broadsheet that’s read by about seven people daily. But nobody said the Murdoch empire was very savvy.
Two founding fathers of the Greens say the split between the old-school environmentalists and the new generation of ideologically driven urban activists now swelling the parliamentary ranks could destabilise the party and alienate voters.
The man who gave up his seat in the Tasmanian parliament 29 years ago to launch Bob Brown’s political career, Norm Sanders, said the Greens had “lost the plot” by shifting away from their core business of the environment.
And Queenslander Drew Hutton, who co-founded the party in 1992 with Senator Brown, hit out at the “ludicrous” decision by the NSW division of the Greens to thumb its nose at federal policy and back an international trade boycott of Israel in the recent state election campaign.
Greens leader Bob Brown wants to end Australian exports of arms and defence equipment, effectively calling for the end of an industry worth $2 billion a year.
Senator Brown yesterday backed a call by WA Greens senator Scott Ludlam for an embargo on the sale of weapons to Israel, adding that he opposed all arms exports and believed Australia should offer “more positive” exports to the world.
His comments were rejected by Defence Materiel Minister Jason Clare and his opposition counterpart, Stuart Robert, who both said Senator Brown’s proposal would cause significant job losses.
Mr Robert accused the Greens of hypocrisy, noting that Senator Brown had strongly backed the establishment last month of a no-fly zone around Libya but was now rejecting the sale of technology to make such actions possible.
Senator Brown’s comments came as he rejected criticism over the appearance of Senator Ludlam and South Australian Greens senator Sarah-Hanson Young at anti-Israeli rallies.
At a rally in Perth last year, Senator Ludlam called for an embargo on the sale of weapons to Israel, citing a $41 million Australian contract to supply equipment, including vests.
Senator Brown accused The Australian of conducting “a vendetta” against his party. Asked why he had refused to answer a series of questions about Senator Ludlam and Senator Hanson-Young sent to him on Wednesday, the Greens Leader said: “We had priorities and you didn’t figure.”
The Australian’s editor-in-chief, Chris Mitchell, backed yesterday’s coverage and said that he had not heard from Senator Brown or any other Greens representatives to query its accuracy.
And finally an op-ed by three Zionist Jews, Philip Mendes, Nick Dyrenfurth and Suzanne Rutland, who all care far more about maintaining Jewish privilege in Israel rather than ending the occupation of Palestinian lands. All three have spent years writing the same article over and over again, ignoring the Israeli government’s growing fascism. How on earth would Israel give up its colonisation program? Empty words from the Zionist Diaspora? Please. This is the face of “liberal” Zionism, utterly complicit in today’s Israeli occupation:
During the recent NSW state election, the controversial Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel became a significant campaign issue. Much public debate suggested a sharp divide between Leftist groups, such as the NSW Greens who appeared to support BDS, and mainly Jewish and non-Left groups, who oppose BDS.
In the election’s aftermath, commentators credited the defeat of Marrickville Greens candidate Fiona Byrne to her support for the BDS.
Remarkably, Greens Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon insisted that her party should have spent more time building progressive support for the BDS among “academics, Arab communities and social justice groups”.
However, in our opinion, the BDS is the antithesis of progressive or left-wing politics.
We are long-time advocates of a peaceful two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We strongly oppose the demonisation of Israel by sections of the Left, and also the demonisation of the Palestinians by sections of Jewish/Israeli opinion.
We favour a negotiated compromise peace which respects Israel’s right to security within roughly the Green Line borders and the Palestinian right to national independence within the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Perversely, BDS advocates suggest that the Palestinians should now be congratulated for abandoning the horrific suicide bombings and rocket attacks of the second intifada, instead adopting a non-violent strategy. But BDS initiated in this zero-sum context can only be seen as a war against Israel by other means.
It bears a message not of humanistic support for two states, but of a utopia where Israel unilaterally surrenders and concedes its national existence.
Likewise, BDS fails to engage with Israeli and diaspora opposition to the settlements, but seeks to impose a collective national guilt on all Israelis irrespective of their political views, social class or whether their background is Jewish, Arab or Druze.
Inevitably, the overwhelming majority of the six million Israeli Jews view BDS as motivated by the same prejudices that influenced Nazi anti-Semitism, and also the ethnic cleansing that drove out nearly a million Jews from the Arab world during the 1940s and 1950s. Their response is hardly likely to be dovish or conciliatory.
Not to be outdone, Australia’s Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd tells the Australian Jewish News that the Greens are mad and bad and Canberra will always love Israel and the “peace process”, which has gone nowhere except further colonisation of the West Bank:
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has pledged the Government’s policy towards Israel is not up for negotiation with The Greens.
In an in-depth interview with The AJN this week, Rudd said that while the Government constantly negotiates with other political parties, particularly in the Senate, foreign policy was different.
“What I would say unequivocally is that when it comes to policy on Israel and the Middle East there will be no, repeat no, compromise on any matter of policy because of The Greens,” he said.
His strong statement was made in the wake of national debate this week over the NSW Greens’ policy to boycott goods made in Israel.
Facing accusations from Israeli diplomats that Australia could be breaching its international trade obligations by not stamping down on The Greens, Rudd’s condemnation of the policy and its instigator Lee Rhiannon left no doubt.
“The Greens senator-elect’s statement concerning a comprehensive boycott of Israel is repugnant, offensive and totally opposed to Australian Government policy, that’s the first point. The second is, because it doesn’t represent Australian Government policy, but simply the irresponsible rantings of a Greens senator-elect there is no case in terms of the WTO whatsoever.”
The occupation is Israel’s cancerous tumour. Those who don’t work actively against it are simply indulging Zionist racism.