Ed: 37: October/2012
In the spirit of September's Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Iranian policy has become a focus of the season's soul-searching.
A lot has happened since Netanyahu's return to the Premiership, two months after Barack Obama landed in the White House. What his predecessors saw as an international problem whose treatment should be led by the United States, Netanyahu aired loudly in high-exposure forums like the United Nations General Assembly, the US Congress, and the AIPAC policy conference.
There is no doubt that "5 Broken Cameras" is a moving, emotional and powerful film. It tries to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by telling the story of one Palestinian town, Bil'in, which became a symbol of what the film describes as the non-violent resistance against the security fence. In the film, Bil'in is presented as a metaphor for "Palestine", while the security fence is cast as "the occupation". This is achieved via a sophisticated, almost subtle, technique - focusing on one very personal story of a man, Emad Burnat, the film's co-director, a self-proclaimed Palach [farmer], journalist and now filmmaker, along with his youngest son, Gibreel, who was born around the time the construction of the fence had begun.
What do the Palestinian Authority's (PA) deep-seated economic problems have in common with its unstinting hostility towards Israel and reluctance to work towards resolving the conflict?
They are each symptomatic of a failure of Palestinian leadership. And, if you feel a sense of déjà vu over the PA's intention to circumvent the peace process by again seeking to upgrade its status at the United Nations, you may also appreciate the repetitive character of these failures. Those who fail to learn from their past mistakes are doomed to repeat them.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) repeatedly gave a platform to radical anti-Israel political activists during August and September.
Discredited Israeli-born historian-cum-extreme anti-Zionist Ilan Pappe told Geraldine Doogue (ABC Radio National "Breakfast", Sept. 17) that the "mainstream Zionist leadership from the very beginning understood that... they could not have a Jewish state as long as the Palestinians remained in Palestine".
The fact is that the mainstream Zionist leadership accepted and still accepts partitioning the disputed territory into Jewish and Arab states, and did so in 1922 (when Jordan was created), 1937, 1947, 2000, 2008. Moreover, Zionist documents have always discussed the expectation that the Jewish state would have a non-Jewish minority.
Imagine if someone said the "Global Jewish Conspiracy" had been conspiring to take over the world through their control of politicians and the media, and of course using their money and power over banking to dominate the global economy. Moreover, they added, the Global Jewish Conspiracy had been scheming and planning to gain global domination for hundreds of years, maybe even thousands, and was responsible for both world wars. Furthermore, that Holocaust thing, the Global Jewish Conspiracy just made that up to add to their power.
You wouldn't have too much trouble coming to the conclusion that the person espousing this point of view was antisemitic, would you?
I look forward to the time when the antisemitic ratbags who claim Islamic authority, together with those who seek to create a wider conflict with all Western society, are clearly and unambiguously told that they have no call on solidarity with co-religionists - and when the prominent voices condemning promoters of conspiracy theories and group defamations include, as a matter of course, the same level of senior Muslim community leaders who condemned Sydney's September skirmishers.
Coming in the middle of the American campaign season and timed to coincide with the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the violence now shaking the Middle East has inevitably turned into a US domestic issue.
If Americans and other Westerners are going to understand what's going on and process it effectively, the first thing we've got to realise is that this isn't all about us.
"100 Jewish donors." Google it, and 17,000 results follow; 1,490 just in Google's "News" tab. Strung together, those words sound altruistic. But place those words in the context of the attacks taking place against the United States' embassies, and the foundations are built for a grandiose conspiracy. Place them still further in the context of a US$5 million hate film, and that controversy becomes more elaborate, playing on classic tropes of Jewish control over Hollywood. What I am saying is words and context matter, which is why all those media outlets - and they were many - that reported that Jews were behind the hate film, The Innocence of Muslims, should be so embarrassed.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced on September 13 that the Australian Government "fiercely, unequivocally, strongly oppose" the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. This followed a Government decision the previous day to oppose supporting a Senate anti-BDS motion advanced by Opposition Senator Arthur Sinodinos (Lib., NSW) on the grounds that it singled out individuals in the Greens party. But Carr's statement reinforced the broad national consensus against the destructive, anti-peace BDS campaign.