Jewish News October 16

Malcolm Turnbull gets an interview with the AJN. It’s funny he still has time for this as head of the Opposition. The highly perceptive Naomi Levin and Chantal Abitbol who interviewed him were able to deduce from Turnbull’s actions that neither Rudd nor Turnbull think “military action against Iran” is a “consideration” they are “entertaining”. Wow, you mean we won’t bomb Iran?

They say Stephen Smith, our minister for Foreign Affairs, called on Israel to freeze settlements in a May speech to a “Jewish audience”. Turnbull “refused to weigh in on the settlement debate.” However, what they quote from him indicates tacit support for the settlements: “I think we are a long way from the scene of the negotiations, I don’t want to second-guess Mr Netanyahu. Everyone is trying to get to an outcome and everyone is obviously relucant to make concessions that are not going to be matched by concessions from the other side.” He also complained that Rudd isn’t supportive enough of Israel at the UN.

There’s an article on Ada Yonath’s Nobel prize. They don’t mention her leftist political views, which were covered in the serious (non-JPost papers) Israeli papers. There’s also an article on Edelman. Like Yonath, they don’t mention his politics. The right wing Arens in Haaretz, of course, knew he had to mention it.

Many of the survivors of the uprising who settled in Israel could not forgive Edelman for his frequent criticism of Israel. When on my return from Warsaw I tried to convince a number of Israeli universities to award Edelman an honorary doctorate in recognition of his role in the Warsaw ghetto uprising, I ran into stubborn opposition led by Holocaust historians in Israel. He had received Poland’s highest honor, and at the 65th commemoration of the Warsaw ghetto uprising he was awarded the French Legion of Honor medal. He died not having received the recognition from Israel that he so richly deserved.

There’s an editorial on the Holocaust, speaking about Edelman. They speak of the questions “bequeathed to us by Marek Edelman”. Yes, there are a few more you might heed. The top section of the editorial is distressed by the problems facing Mahmoud Abbas. The editorial discusses the problems facing Abbas, and ponders whether Obama should help out Abbas (they counsel against this course of action, for reasoning that is incoherent at best). But note how the editorialist DOESN’T NOTICE THAT MAHMOUD ABBAS IS A HOLOCAUST DENIER!! It’s incredible – the second part of the editorial goes on at length about the need to defend the memory of the Holocaust, to challenge Holocaust deniers, without noticing that this counts against Abbas. The difference is that Abbas is a pliant puppet of Israel, so the issue doesn’t arise: apparently anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial only matter in anti-Zionists.

Bill Anderson writes that Amin Saikal is “pro-Iranian”. This is because he’s not a Zionist fanatic. Stephen Langford writes a very good letter, though I increasingly think such letters are pointless.

The AJN is an incredible paper. It has an intro to two op eds: “Israel certainly has its critics. Here two commentators discuss the fine line between helpful discussion about Israel and its government’s policies, and radical opposition fuelled by hatred.” One is Mendes – the same old anti-boycott article, with bits cut out – and Isi Leibler, denouncing all critics of Israel. Mendes, as is representative of his integrity, has the “The Israelis fear that any political or territorial concessions will only be used by the Palestinians to initiate further violence. They associate the suicide bombings with the Oslo peace process, and link the rocket attacks to the withdrawal from Gaza. Consequently, they have elected a government which is ideologically opposed to real compromise and implicitly acts as the political arm of the settlers movement.” bit removed from his original piece. That’s not to say he removed it: I expect the AJN removed it, and he had no objection. Compare that to (say) Edward Said: Question of Palestine couldn’t be published in the Arab world because he refused to remove any criticisms of the Arab governments. The reason he said that quote in his original article is the same reason he ends with the claim that he was part of a “left wing academic group” – to give him credibility, when he has none whatsoever and the only people who take him seriously are people who are already Zionist fanatics.

Leibler is more shrill than Mendes, but there’s little difference. It begins: “The exploitation of Judge Goldstone’s Jewish background by our enemies intensifies our obligation to confron tthe enemy within: renegade Jews, including Israelis, who stand at the vanguard of global efforts to demonise and delegitimise the Jewish State.” I would be proud to be considered a renegade Jew. He goes on to denounce “fringe groups of “non-Jewish Jews”” – I like this phrase. Though sadly he says “many with no prior invovlement in Jewish life”, which doesn’t include me. But I express my solidarity with them nevertheless.

Michael Visontay, meanwhile, offers his expertise on al Qaeda. He notes that Bin Laden addresses the issue of Palestine.  Indeed, because al Qaeda now stresses the issue of Palestine more than before, the major issue is Palestine for them. It’s startling how naive political analysis can be.


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