Getting down in the sub-continent after the Middle East

Posted: 24 Jun 2010

The numbers of Israelis living in Goa, India has risen over the last years, a far more stable place to be than the Jewish state:

“You have to understand that because of Jewish history, the endless persecution, exiles and struggles for freedom, we were brought up in an extremely patriotic environment—dying for your country was the best thing you could do,” says Ori Balak, one of Israel’s best known and finest drummers. Explaining why he has been living in Goa for the last decade, he says, “I was very tired, and looking to disconnect from the violent, consistently stressful reality of Israeli life, and from policies of which I was extremely critical. I came looking for peace.”

Looking in vain for a brave parliamentarian who calls things as they are

Posted: 24 Jun 2010

Another wonderful speech by departing Australian Labor MP Julia Irwin (here are some recent comments) given on 23 June. A rare voice of honesty in the Australian parliament:

(Fowler) (9.39 am)—The development of Israeli settlements in the West Bank continues unabated. With the world occupied in getting the parties to the negotiating table, the reality on the ground is changing to the point that a real and meaningful settlement based on a two-state solution may soon become practically unachievable.

 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is being painted into such a corner as will prevent him from agreeing to any peace plan that does not provide the Palestinian people with a meaningful unified state and not a series of fractured Palestinian cities and towns.

The building of the so-called separation wall has only increased the likelihood of this occurring. The wall goes beyond the internationally recognised West Bank border with Israel. Clearly it is designed not to keep out the terrorists but, rather, to seize additional territory to be claimed in any settlement by Israel under the pretext of security.

It divides Palestinian farms, divides Palestinian families and even denies access to Arab universities. Further, it is designed to inconvenience the Palestinian people by surrounding towns, denying access and rendering the ability to lead a normal life impossible. Encouraging Palestinians to leave the territories and the building of Israeli-only roads leads one to think that Israeli governments intend this as their permanent solution.

As the Israeli government drive this settlement bus at breakneck speeds they are driving the state of Israel to the edge of an abyss that endangers its existence as a Jewish state. It is very simple. More settlement construction means that a viable Palestinian state is unachievable. More settlement construction will make it impossible to resettle Israelis from the occupied territories.

More settlement construction means the Israeli army will be unable or even unwilling to remove settlers by force to facilitate any peace agreement. Many settlers are on the public record as saying they will not leave and will violently resist any attempt to remove them from the biblical lands of Judea and Samaria. This claim is no more valid than the Italian Prime Minister whipping out maps of the former Roman Empire and laying claim to larger tracts of Europe, the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa.

The argument is nonsensical. But the Jewish people will be left in charge of an apartheid state, ruling second- class citizens with limited rights. This is no more acceptable to the rest of the world than the former apartheid regime in South Africa.

Tibet and Zimbabwe are shocking but Palestine resonates in a different way

Posted: 24 Jun 2010

Why is the West so obsessed with Israel?

(And no, anti-Semitism isn’t the answer).

Urging Israel to bomb Lebanon and soon

Posted: 24 Jun 2010

Smell the disappointment from the neo-con class:

In Washington the assumption is that it’s only a matter of time before Israel and Hezbollah will be at war again. But what’s worse is that, according to policymakers and analysts I’ve spoken to, the United States is sharply opposed to Israel finishing the work it failed to get done in its two previous Lebanon wars (1982-2000; 2006).

This isn’t just because the Obama Administration wants to keep things cool in the region to allow for relatively peaceful U.S. withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan and to keep terrorists off the streets of U.S. cities. The more disturbing reason is that Israel is no longer trusted to do the job right.

Regardless of how Israel’s enemies game it out, sooner rather than later, Jerusalem is going to have to make war on Hezbollah, because the United States is withdrawing from the region, Israel is getting weaker, and its enemies are getting stronger. The only way to ratify or challenge a new balance of forces in the region is through war

Read, read and wait a little (back soon)

Posted: 23 Jun 2010

I’ll be on the road for a few days so posting will be light.

In the meantime, check out this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.

Back shortly.

Australia wakes up to a new leader and yet…

Posted: 23 Jun 2010

Australia has a new Prime Minister today, Julia Gillard, the country’s first female leader, a woman of the Left (supposedly) who has came into power thanks to the power of the Right.

Already the commentariat are telling Gillard how to “avoid the same fate as Kevin Rudd“, as if they’re players in the game, wise men and women, and yet they prefer to play the adviser game. So much independent thought and analysis.

Here’s Crikey’s thoughts:

Here’s a reality check: many of the general public haven’t tuned into politics for months.

Suddenly, they wake up to a new prime minister. A prime minister they didn’t vote for.

That’s democracy, you could say. Or Labor party democracy, at least. Let’s see what the punters make of that.

But will the government’s policies change? A harsher policy towards refugees? An open discussion towards following every policy coming from Washington, such as Afghanistan and Israel/Palestine?

Don’t expect many differences.

The American punditry class love war

Posted: 23 Jun 2010

Following this week’s explosive article in Rolling Stone by Michael Hastings on the failing war in Afghanistan, these comments in Vanity Fair ring very true:

McChrystal and Co. would have exhibited far better judgment had they looked into Hastings’s career and writings and come to the obvious conclusion that this sort of journalist has nothing to lose in reporting a series of demonstrable facts.

Unlike many of this country’s most respected commentators, Hastings did not spend the better part of a decade repeating conventional wisdom about our allegedly unprecedented success in two wars that have already proven to be abject failures, and thus he has no reason to simply take the word of some or another confused presidential administration that everything is under control, or will be after some additional expenditure of blood and treasure.

McChrystal would have been better off talking to Thomas Friedman, who is so amusingly naïve that in 2001 he declared Vladimir Putin to be a force for good for whom Americans all ought to be “rootin’,” a term he chose because it rhymes with Putin. McChrystal would have been somewhat less better-off talking to Charles Krauthammer, who has long been the most respected of conservative commentators despite the fact that he has been demonstrably wrong about every U.S. military action of the last 12 years and plenty else besides; the Washington Post columnist would have presumably returned with another round of good news and thereby jinxed the entire operation.

Neither of these men are defeatists; both declared victory in Afghanistan long ago. Both have won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. Friedman himself now sits on the Pulitzer committee. And thus it is that Hastings and others like him will never win any Pulitzer Prizes for journalism or commentary no matter how much their work changes the course of history, which is just as well, as they seem to be made from lead and recipients seem unable to refrain from licking them.

The Palestinian Authority knows where its bread is buttered

Posted: 23 Jun 2010

That’s what you call a loyal colonial partner:

The Palestinian Authority attempted to neutralize a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution condemning Israel’s deadly attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, leaked UN and Palestinian Authority documents obtained by The Electronic Intifada show.

Israel’s 31 May attack killed nine Turkish citizens, including a dual US-Turkish citizen, and injured dozens of others aboard the Mavi Marmara in international waters.

The Electronic Intifada (EI) today publishes one of the documents it obtained, containing proposed amendments to a draft Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution. Annotations to the resolution indicate the Palestinian Authority (PA) stood with European Union (EU) countries against Turkey’s calls for robust action to hold Israel accountable.  

The PA’s apparent collusion to shield Israel will recall for many its efforts to undermine UN action on the Goldstone report last October.

See: www.antonyloewenstein.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *