Media Week – Remembering Shamir; Grave doubts; Over the top

Media Week - Remembering Shamir; Grave doubts; Over the top

Remembering Shamir

Ruth Pollard in the Age and Sydney Morning Herald (2/7) asserted that former Israeli PM Yitzhak Shamir’s “most criticised decision…was to undermine the 1987 agreement on Palestine reached by his foreign minister Shimon Peres and Jordan’s King Hussein”.

Contrary to Pollard’s implication, the agreement would not have created an independent Palestine but seen a resumption of Jordanian rule over the West Bank.

Obituaries in the Courier Mail and the Sydney Morning Herald (3/7) discussed how Shamir differentiated his own violent acts for gaining Jewish statehood and Palestinian terror tactics, using quotes from a 1988 New York Times interview: “‘Our aim was to establish a Jewish state where there was no state, not to destroy an existing state. The main aim of the Palestinians is to destroy the state of Israel…The driving force for the Arabs is hatred of Israel. Hatred of the Jewish people. Look, we defend ourselves now, but we don’t hate the Arabs.'”

Grave doubts

Former PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat made headlines with the news that clothes he wore preceding his death had tested positive for traces of polonium many times higher than is normal. This raised the possibility that Arafat was deliberately poisoned.

Tony Walker in the Australian Financial Review (5/7) wrote “Israel had ample opportunity to kill him over the years, but arguably concluded on balance it had invested so heavily in demonising the man that he was more valuable alive.”

John Lyons in the Australian (5/7) quoted Israeli journalist Alex Fishman who noted that Arafat’s wife, Suha, “publicly accused the PLO leadership of killing him ‘and even extorted huge sums from them as hush money'”.

Yisrael Hasson, a former Shin Bet deputy director, told Anne Barker on ABC Radio’s “AM” (5/7) “if he were poisoned then how did the original laboratories not discover something that’s so obvious? It’s not like there’s an amazing scientific discovery here.”

Over the top

In the Age (7/7) Ian Robinson accused federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott of using techniques similar to those of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Minister for Propaganda Joseph Goebbels by allegedly repeatedly calling PM Julia Gillard a liar for breaking a pre-2010 election commitment not to introduce a carbon tax.

Robinson wrote: “Abbott calling what Australia’s Prime Minister said a ‘lie’ may itself be an example of what Adolf Hitler called a ‘big lie’, that is a lie so ‘colossal’ it has a ‘certain force of credibility’ because the populace ‘would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously’ (Mein Kampf, volume I, chapter X)…Abbott and the opposition are lowering the level of political debate in contemporary Australia to that of Germany in the ’30s. No one is claiming Abbott is a Nazi but one has to ask why he, and the party he leads, are so doggedly using discredited Nazi propaganda techniques?”

Calling a fellow politician a liar long predated Hitler and bringing Nazi comparisons into any Australian political debate for such flimsy reasons is both gratuitously offensive and immoral.

Allon Lee