Some UN home truths
Posted: 18 Jun 2010

Ali Abunimah:

If the UN Security Council decided the outcome of the World Cup, USA and Israel would be the greatest football nations.

Elton John has lovely friends (who seem to hate gay people)
Posted: 18 Jun 2010

There has been massive pressure on Elton John to not play in Israel. Alas, he ignored those calls, saluted his fans in Tel Aviv…and then it emerged he recently accepted $1 million to play at Rush Limbaugh’s 4th wedding. A classy man:

Another week, another provocative concert by Elton John. Fresh off a gig as Rush Limbaugh’s wedding singer, the British icon performed Thursday in Tel Aviv, despite pressure from human rights groups and fellow artists to boycott Israel following the flotilla debacle off the coast of Gaza.
“Shalom, we are so happy to be back here! Ain’t nothing gonna stop us from coming, baby,” John said with a fist in the air.  
The piano man then took a swipe at those artists, including Elvis Costello, Santana, the Pixies and Devendra Banhart, who have bailed on concerts in recent weeks.
“Musicians spread love and peace, and bring people together. That’s what we do,” he said. “We don’t cherry-pick our conscience.”
Costello specifically called his decision to cancel a June 30 show a “matter of instinct and conscience.”

The Jerusalem Post said John then “turned into a human jukebox for two-and-a-half hours,” mixing old and new favorites spanning his four decade career. Songs played included ‘Levon,’ Rocket Man’ and more obscure hits like ‘Mona Lisa and Mad Hatters’ and ‘Captain Fantastic.’
An estimated 50,000 fans crammed into Ramat Gan stadium in Tel Aviv.
John recently caused a stir when he played a secret show at Limbaugh’s June 5 wedding. The gay icon caught some flack for the performance, which netted him a reported $1 million paycheck from the radio commentator, who strongly opposes gay marriage and has a history of negative comments about homosexuality.
“It betrays either ignorance or self-interest or both, and jeopardizes his admirable record on gay rights,” Aaron Hicklin, Editor-in-Chief of Out, told PopEater at the time.
John’s longtime partner, David Furnish, said the singer was “a little surprised” to get the invitation, but accepted the job after deciding “Life is about building bridges, not walls.”
The singer said Limbaugh and his bride, Kathryn Rogers, “were incredibly gracious and very welcoming and very sweet and very appreciative.”

The “war on terror” debases us all
Posted: 18 Jun 2010

Guess which war criminal said this?

It is understood by all that we carried out this great humanitarian operation only to eliminate terrorism. We left no room for even one bullet to be fired against ordinary citizens. Our armed forces comprise those who went into battle carrying a gun in one hand, the declaration of human rights the other, as well as taking food for the liberated people of the north and full of human kindness in their hearts.

Sri Lankan President? Israeli Prime Minister? George W. Bush?

News Limited would never smear an innocent man
Posted: 18 Jun 2010

Rupert Murdoch, a media man with lashings of journalistic principles:

A doctor accepted “substantial” libel damages at the high court today over false allegations in the Sun linking him to terrorism.
Dr Mohammed Asha, who is based in the Midlands, launched legal action after the Sun carried a front page article last August under the heading “Terror case doc works in casualty”.
Leo Dawkins, the solicitor representing Dr Asha, told Mr Justice Eady in the high court in London today that the allegations were that “there were very strong grounds to suspect that the claimant would be involved in the future in terrorist bomb plots and was, therefore, an ongoing threat to national security”.
He added: “There is no truth in these allegations whatsoever. The article complained of was published to millions of people and has been devastating for the claimant, causing him immense damage both personally and professionally.”
Dawkins said the defendant, News Group Newspapers, the News International subsidiary that publishes the Sun, “accepted that the allegations complained of were entirely false and without foundation”.

There is no real opposition in Israel
Posted: 18 Jun 2010

The Washington Post, when reporting on Israel’s non-lifting of the Gaza siege, calls the major opposition Kadima party “centrist”. Lawmaker Yoel Hasson offers a view that shows how extreme the country has become:

The easing of the closure is a victory for terror. Netanyahu’s campaign slogan of ‘strong against Hamas’ today became empty words. The absence of a clear diplomatic strategy is leading Israel to international isolation while ending Hamas’s isolation.

The power of endurance in Burma
Posted: 18 Jun 2010

We will not forget:

As Aung San Suu Kyi prepares to celebrate her 65th birthday tomorrow, confined in the house in which she has spent most of the past two decades, a confidante of the Burmese opposition leader has made a simple but passionate appeal to those in the West to use their freedom to help his country achieve the same.
In a hand-written letter smuggled out of Burma and passed to The Independent, U Win Tin writes: “I want to repeat and echo her own words – ‘please use your liberty to promote ours’. I want to add more to it. Please bring more and more liberty to us, to our country, Burma. We are starving for it and we are waiting for someone or some institutions or some countries to bring it to us.”
The plea from Ms Suu Kyi’s friend and senior political ally, who himself spent almost 20 years in solitary confinement, comes at a desperately difficult time for the opponents of Burma’s military junta.

Memo to Australian TV: Tony Blair is loathed everywhere
Posted: 18 Jun 2010

The Independent editorialises with appropriate contempt for a man Australian television still regards with respect:

Tony Blair… whose period as Quartet envoy has been notable for its failure to achieve anything of real substance, especially regarding Gaza.

Answering 20 questions for New Matilda
Posted: 17 Jun 2010

Here it is:

Antony Loewenstein has been writing for newmatilda.com about the Middle East since the beginning. He lobs 20 Questions back our way
Antony Loewenstein started writing for newmatilda.com pretty much at the beginning and has been a regular contributor on the Middle East since. His articles, particularly on Israel-Palestine, have provoked heated debate on the site. We’re proud to have been able to give coverage to perspectives on the Middle East which have been largely neglected in other Australian media outlets. Antony writes, “various editors over the years have provided a supportive and nourishing relationship. I’ve deeply admired the publication’s interest in asking important questions over Israeli crimes in Palestine and stood firm in the face of predictable Zionist attacks. If only more media outlets believed in truth, not appeasing Jewish lobby groups.”
1. Who is your favourite newmatilda.com writer?
Mustafa Qadri, because he’s in the field, he knows Pakistan and the Middle East very well and he refuses to simply reprint government spin. A good journalist, in other words.

2. What’s your favourite newmatilda.com article?
Too many to count, but this recent
interview with William Dalrymple, by Shakira Hussein, really stimulated. He’s a fascinating man, Western but curious, questioning and pro-Palestinian.
3. When did you first start reading newmatilda.com?
From day one: in the days before Twitter, Facebook and the birthpangs of YouTube.

4. Were you surprised when you heard the news?
Saddened, yes, but not shocked. I’ve long believed that news should always be free, to give as greater access as possible, but as a journalist and author I also want to get paid to sustain my caviar addiction.

5. Fill in the blank in this sentence: “I’m sad that newmatilda.com has hit the skids because their articles occasionally stuck it to the ___ and those people give me the creeps.”
Pompous and conflicted commentators who think they own the media space.

6. What was the newmatilda.com headline you always wanted to read but never happened?
One Man’s Freedom Fighter Is Never A Terrorist.

7. Do you subscribe to any on-line content? What? Why, or why not?
Crikey, Democracy Now! and many others. Good content takes time and resources and somebody has to pay. Rupert shouldn’t be the only benefactor.

8. If you could pick one public figure to deliver live commentary on Election Night, who would it be?
David Marr, who’d bring wit and insight.

9. Name your favourite lovable loon and rate their threat to public safety.
American politician Ron Paul, who for all that he holds some less than savoury views on race, actually wants to disentangle America from permanent occupation of the Middle East. Threat to public safety? His son is a Tea Party politician with a bright future. Beware.

10. Do you have any secret political crushes you’d like to share with our readers?
Apart from the obvious Kate Ellis (oh so predictable, I know), I respectfully decline to discuss my feelings towards Bronwyn Bishop.

11. Favourite retired Australian politician.
I wish Paul Keating would remain out of the public spotlight until he asks for forgiveness over his incestuous relationship with Suharto. It’ll never happen.

12. What do you see as the most important issue in the upcoming federal election campaign?
Australian foreign policy and our need to follow Washington’s lead on pretty much everything. Let’s discuss the US alliance, the why, how and why not.

13. What subject should be compulsory in primary schools?
The history of the Middle East.

14.What’s the one thing you’ve always wanted to know about Australian politics but were afraid to ask?
Why most politicians are so willing to follow party lines on key policy issues.

15. When was the first time you changed your mind on something important?
Started to understand the need to eat less meat and appreciate the pain suffered by animals for my enjoyment.

16. What annoys you about journalists?
That most corporate journalists seem themselves as players, not reporters. Want to be close to power not seriously challenge it. Like to receive sanctioned “leaks” and not spend the time actually digging deeply. Afraid to offend powerful interests.

17. What politician and journalist combination would you like to see stuck in a lift recording a long interview?
Tony Abbott with a Palestinian journalist asking why he believes the Jewish state should be allowed to bomb refugee camps and occupy another people for decades.

18. What’s the one question you’d like both Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott to answer?
Wouldn’t you use a people smuggler if your life was in danger in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran or Iraq?

19. Is the Australian media getting better, worse, or staying the same?
More diverse in a way but overall less questioning of establishment power. And why aren’t there far more reporters of ethnic background? Fewer white Anglos, please.

20. What question would you like to ask us?
Will you miss being abused in Parliament by the Federal Member for Israel, Michael Danby?

Here are your Tel Aviv friendly talking points on Gaza
Posted: 17 Jun 2010

How the Zionist lobby (in this case The Israel Project) tells its little minions to sell Israel (via Richard Silverstein):

Subject: In the “messages that fail” department, please see this…
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2010 13:36:40 -0400
From: Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
To: Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi

As to research on saying that there isn’t a “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza and that no one is starving, we will have that on what Luntz and Greenberg are testing next week. But you don’t need that data to know it is a complete dead-end of a message. Reporters and leaders all over Washington are complaining about this and some say they see Israel and cold and heard hearted.  Given that 6 more flotillas are headed to Israel (including one of Jews from Germany and one of Jews from the UK) we need to make sure we understand this well.
Watch this from Jon Stewart. Watch to the end and listen to how they react to when Krauthammer uses the message…ouch!
Clearly we need to be saying that “While no one is starving in Gaza because Israel delivers so much aid, there IS suffering in Gaza. We want the suffering to stop. That is why Iran-backed Hamas must stop using supplies for rockets and Hamas must release Gilad Shalit. Hamas must be accountable for their actions and for the suffering they are causing their OWN people.”
On a good note, the topic in the US tonight will shift to energy. Alternative energy is obviously a great topic for Israel as Israel has much to say that could help on this.
See: www.antonyloewenstein.com

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