Media Microscope: The silver lining
Feb 6, 2017 | Allon Lee
Amid the controversy over the highly flawed UNSC Resolution 2334’s passage, support for Israel in Australia was remarkably strong.
Spectator Australia (Jan. 7) labelled 2334 “a grotesque attempt by the failed Obama administration… to disguise a plethora of disastrous actions and inactions” and said it empowered historical revisionism, noting that “this week… Islamic guards harass[ed] an Israeli archeologist for using the term ‘Temple Mount’ on, er, the Temple Mount.”
In the same edition, David Flint questioned 2334’s claim that settlements are illegal, noting, “these territories clearly remain legally subject today to the Jewish right of settlement established in the Mandate.”
Australian correspondent Bruce Loudon (Dec. 26) said Obama allowed “personal animus towards… Netanyahu and… hostility to… Trump to get the better of sound judgement.”
The Australian editorialised (Dec. 27) that “Obama’s UN ambassador… made a good point when… she said that while the world body was targeting Israel, it had done precious little about the appalling slaughter in Aleppo and elsewhere. The criticism should apply to her boss.”
On (Dec. 30) the paper denounced US Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech for “heaping all the blame on Israeli settlements rather than” acknowledging “the real impediment is the unwillingness of Palestinian leaders… to accept Israel’s right to exist.”
On Jan.4, the Australian praised the Turnbull Government’s 2334 criticism saying, “it is… imperative… bilateral relations are boosted… Israel deserves our… support.”
The paper also offered strong support (Jan. 10) following the Jan. 8 terror attack in Jerusalem that killed four Israelis.
Australian foreign editor Greg Sheridan (Dec. 27) said the “resolution makes no sense”, noting that “Israel… has made at least three serious offers to give more than 90 per cent of the land in question to a new Palestinian state.”
On Dec. 30, Sheridan attacked Kerry for being “disconnected from the real world crises of the Middle East, focusing instead [on] his undergraduate obsessions with Israel.” On Jan. 5, Sheridan called Obama a “post-truth president… utterly undisturbed by eight years of Middle East reality” in thinking “Israel is somehow the central issue in the Middle East.”
In the Australian (Jan. 2), David Suissa attacked Kerry for failing to “mention that Palestinian Arabs rejected opportunities for statehood in 1937, 1939, 1947, 1993, 2000 and 2008.”
Two days later in the Australian, Adelaide writer Brigitte Dwyer said instead of Kerry “recognising any failure on his own behalf” he displayed symptoms of holding Jews as “somehow responsible for the unsatisfactory nature of existence.”
Australian columnist Gerard Henderson noted (Jan. 7) the Government’s 2334 stance puts us at odds with Britain and the US, meaning we are doing what the “the left wing academics” who “for years” have “called for Australia to adopt an independent foreign policy” have asked, but “needless to say, such a stance has not won the… government much appreciation.”
Australian columnist Jennifer Oriel (Jan. 9) ridiculed the UN’s grouping of Israel with IS and Syria’s Assad regime as the only Middle Eastern entities worth condemning.
The Australian (Jan. 12) ran Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens who noted that “in theory, Israel would be well-served living alongside a Palestinian state” but that “Israelis don’t live in theory” and peace offers in 2000 and 2007 were rejected and followed by violence, as was the 2005 Gaza withdrawal.
In the Daily Telegraph (Jan. 5), Rowan Dean questioned why Australian pensions are being cut whilst foreign aid is rewarding Palestinian terrorists. In the same paper (Dec. 29), and in Western Australia’s Sunday Times (Jan.1), Dean said 2334 calling east Jerusalem Palestinian was “deliberately malicious,” including as it does the Western Wall and the Old City’s Jewish Quarter.
In the Courier Mail (Jan. 2), Dean scorned 2334, saying there is no moral equivalence between “constructing apartment blocks on disputed land and, on the other hand, running TV shows teaching Palestinian kids how to kill Jews with knives.”
Daily Telegraph columnist Piers Akerman (Jan. 1) said the conflict “has never been about land, it’s always been about hatred.”
Daily Telegraph columnist Caroline Marcus (Jan. 3) asked “what incentive do the Palestinians have to come to an agreement… when they can get the terms they want handed to them on a… platter if they just keep holding out?”