Smearing the other

A few days ago I spoke in Sydney alongside the Mayor of Bethlehem. He is a dignified man who talked about the effects of the Israeli occupation on his town. Simply put, Israel is killing the holy city.

In today’s Murdoch’s Australian national broadcast, a little propagandist outlines the faux outrage that has greeted the proposed sister-city relationship between the West Bank town of Hebron and Leichhart Council in Sydney’s inner-west. Yet again, the Jewish community is concerned that Australians may actually find out more information about true apartheid in the occupied territories. If anybody visits the town, and sees graffiti written by fundamentalist settlers such as “Arabs to the gas chambers”, using the term apartheid is actually an understatement.

Then the article features this:

At a pro-Palestinian meeting at the University of Sydney on Tuesday evening, Dr Batarseh repeated his claim that the Israeli security barrier, which runs through Bethlehem, is intended to steal Palestinian land rather then keep out suicide attacks.

The 90-strong crowd at the event applauded when a member of the audience called for “the complete destruction of Israel”.

This is a complete lie. I was at the event and I’m fairly confident that the journalist was not. An audience member did indeed call for the destruction of Israel, but the vast majority of the audience remained silent after his statement. The Mayor of Bethlehem specifically responded by arguing that such statements were counter-productive and not very helpful. And wrong. The lengths to which so-called respectable media will go to smear anybody who dares support the Palestinian cause continues unabated.