Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Media Week - A baffling declaration; Aid el-Vice; Hamad screed

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A baffling declaration

In the Spectator Australia (Aug. 13), the ECAJ's Alex Ryvchin ridiculed Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki's declaration that Palestinians will sue Britain for the 1917 Balfour Declaration supporting a Jewish national home in Palestine.

Ryvchin said the Declaration did not give Jews anything but "simply expressed...support for the idea that the Jews, a people indigenous to the land, should be able to return there to reconstitute their national home if they so desired."

In fact, it was "the League of Nations, the [UN's] predecessor" that recognised these principles as "binding international pronouncements...long before the Holocaust" and "mak[ing a] nonsense" of the frequent claim that Israel was created "to make others pay for their sins in relation to the destruction of European Jewry."

Aid el-Vice

In the same Spectator, Rebecca Weisser said World Vision should not be surprised that Mahmoud El-Halabi, its Gaza chief who was arrested by Israel, had subverted its aid program for Hamas' benefit.

"Four years ago World Vision allegedly found it had accidentally given $1.68 million of AusAID money to a Palestinian ‘charity' set up by terrorists... The terrorists...were the Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine... a proscribed terror organisation in Australia. The President of the ‘charity' was Comrade Bashir al-Khairi, a convicted terrorist and head of the Politburo of the PFLP. And Comrade Bashir worked so closely with Hamas that he would warm up the crowds at their rallies."

Meanwhile, in 2010, World Vision "funded the Shahid Abu Jihad Youth Sports Center, named after a PLO founder who plotted numerous terror attacks including the 1978 Coastal Road massacre... that killed 38 Israelis."

Hamad screed

On Fairfax "Daily Life" (Aug. 12) blog, anti-Israel columnist Ruby Hamad defended a Lebanese Olympics official's refusal to let Israeli athletes board a shared bus by listing a whole slew of instances when sport and politics mixed, including the US boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics and the 1968 Black Power salute in Mexico.

Unsurprisingly, Hamad overlooked including Palestinian terrorists killing 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Games in her list of politics in sport.

She said alleged Israeli crimes (most of them false or reasonable security measures responding to terror) justify anti-Israel actions - calling Israel's occupation of the West Bank "illegal" (actually, UN Resolution 242 recognises Israeli control until its neighbours agree to make peace), saying Israel totally "controls the borders of...Gaza and the Occupied West Bank" and Palestinians "cannot enter or leave Palestinian territory" without Israeli permission (Egypt shares a border with Gaza too and perhaps Hamad should ask why the PA keeps rejecting Israeli offers of a state incorporating the West Bank).

She claimed Israel "confiscated" the Palestinian Olympic team's equipment (it didn't, the team refused to pay Palestinian taxes on the items) and said Israeli soldiers shot Palestinian footballers in the feet "to prevent them being able to play soccer" (they were Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine members carrying a bomb and not shot in the feet). And she claimed Israel "decimated" Lebanon's infrastructure in the 2006 war (it didn't), omitting the fact that Hezbollah started it.

- Allon Lee

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