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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Autocrat dressed up as democrat

Former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky has resigned from the Israeli cabinet due to his opposition to withdrawing Jewish settlers from Gaza and areas of the West Bank. "I consider the disengagement plan to be a tragic mistake that exacts a high price and also encourages terror," Mr Sharansky told Israel Army Radio.

The eccentric politician, who spent years in a Soviet gulag, has reportedly influenced George W. Bush after writing The Case for Democracy, a manifesto explaining the difference between societies of freedom (Israel, the US etc) and societies of fear (the Palestinian Authority, Iran etc.) In a recent interview, Sharansky outlined his philosophy: "I have said for years that it is much more important for us to deal with a democracy which hates you than with a dictator who loves you."

His theories sound convincing, in theory, but read the fine-print. Sharansky believes that Israel should offer no concessions to the Palestinians until they build an acceptable democracy. In other words, he tells PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, we refuse to negotiate with you until you've conducted actions that we, and only we, deem appropriate. Furthermore, he's been a long-time supporter of stripping rights of Palestinians living in and around East Jerusalem. In other words, his position on these matters allows him to fit in perfectly with any number of Israeli leaders who believe in the superiority of their cause over the Palestinians.

These are classic stalling tactics. How dare a man who claims to believe in democracy restrict the right of an occupied people to resist their oppression? What kind of so-called democrat is happy allowing Israel to continue building settlements in the West Bank while severely restricting freedom of movement for Palestinians? No wonder Sharansky calls Bush a "dissenting" President because "my enthusiasm for Bush is in his return to the line taken by President Reagan.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, an anti-Semite is dressed up as a simple pro-Palestinian intellectual...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 1:24:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

If this is true, it's certainly worrying. Being critical of Israel is fine in my books, but talking about Holocaust denial and the rest of that madness, is certainly not.
It can be a fine line, however...
Sometimes, though, the line is very clear.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 1:42:00 pm  
Anonymous michael said...

Pretty obsure isn't it 'Anonymous'?

Among the many links on Blackwell's site are two to Campbell's sites which refers to Kevin McDonald who is allegedly a Zionist conspiracy theorist.

The sum total of JPost's case against Campbell herself is that she allegedly points out (with some validity) that its not considered acceptable to question Holocaust death toll figures in many Western democracies which would otherwise support academic free speech.

Seems a lot of tenuous links and unjustified leaps of logic to thereby try to suggest that the academic boycott is somehow a neo-Nazi plot.

After all, there's fewer degrees of separation between George Bush and Osama bin Laden.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 1:52:00 pm  
Anonymous michael said...

After further research, I am satisfied that Wendy Campbell at least is guilty as charged of anti-semitism.

But I still think its a bit rich to claim that because one supporter of the boycott includes links to Campbell's sites on her websites that somehow makes the boycott anti-semitic too.

Campbell's websites are a lot more reasonable and moderate than the racist articles she has posted to various IndyMedias. How much checking of an individual are you expected to do before linking to a website?

Maybe we should ban anyone who links to the ABC because some of its reporters are Islamophobic or the SMH because of its intermittent Aborigine bashing articles.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 2:08:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well here we are in this position of moving the goalposts further and further when it comes to anti-Semitism...I know that if I had a dinner party with some of my best right-wing and left-wing friends, and someone had a coupla martinis too many and started banging on about why can't we debate how many people were killed in the Holocaust, everyone else would be shocked and extremely uncomfortable, to say the least. (This actually happened at my table once years ago). I mean, really...we're talking about making it unacceptable to associate with Jewish scholars, and forcing people to have an attitude one way or the other on something, and this doesn't creep you guys out?

Michael, who at the ABC is Islamophobic? When has the SMH ever run an anti-Aboriginal piece? I do remember what's-his-name talking about how he wasn't allowed to report on the barbarity of the Taliban, but that's a lot different than questioning the six million figure.

And of course Margo Kingston once famously complained that the Jews control the media, but again, different story.

Would you consider Tim Dunlop Islamophobic because he has questioned the broad functionality of Islamic culture?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 2:30:00 pm  
Anonymous michael said...

"I mean, really...we're talking about making it unacceptable to associate with Jewish scholars, and forcing people to have an attitude one way or the other on something, and this doesn't creep you guys out?"

Nope, we are talking about making it specifically unacceptable to have academic links to two Israeli institutions who restrict the freedom of speech of their own scholars to speak out on Palestinian issues.

"Michael, who at the ABC is Islamophobic?"

Stephen Crittenden, Rachel Cohn, Geraldine Doogue and whoever keeps getting the 7:30 Report to do those stupid terrorism beatups on that Qantas baggage handler (though to be fair, the latter is probably more a function of journalistic pliability in the hands of intelligence 'sources' than real Islamophobia).

Considering that Crittenden and Cohn both host comparative religion programs on Radio National their Islamophobia is particularly repulsive.

I don't know Tim Dunlop's work, but there's an easy test you can apply for yourself. If he was asking similar questions about the functionality of Jewish culture would you consider him anti-semitic?

"When has the SMH ever run an anti-Aboriginal piece?"

They regularly run articles alleging corruption in land councils and other Aboriginal bureaucracies on evidence that they would never consider sufficient for a piece on a non-ATSI bureaucracy. On at least one occasion they gave it prominence way beyond its news value even if everything their sole source (a disgruntled former employee) had said was true. I'm part Koori myself and would like to see such articles run as well as similar articles on the rampant corruption at, say, the NSW Department of Housing or DIMIA. To run articles on Koori corruption but steer clear of white corruption is racist - and why I stopped buying the SMH about four years ago after over 20 years of faithful readership.

A bit surprised about what you say about Margo, but I'm inclined to believe it. She also offered some very lame apologia for Andrew Rule's disgusting pieces alleging that Geoff Clarke was a rapist.

The SMH is also pretty Islamophobic at times. For example, check the following letter to the editor printed last year and imagine what would have happened if they'd printed one suggesting that shooting Palestinian schoolgirls was somehow representative of the Jewish faith.
Thanks for your page one picture on Friday. Nothing says "Allahu Akhbar" like a knife held at the throat of a terrified woman.

Alan Moon, Beecroft, April 9

Can you give a ref for what you say about Margo so I can check it out?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 4:22:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Margo: click here.

I have no idea what Doogue, et al, could have said about Islam that would be considered 'phobic', but it seems that your definition is 'saying anything critical of Islam'. I mean, am I Islamophobic if I point out that there is a helluva lot of violence that springs from the practice of that religion?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 4:48:00 pm  
Blogger syed-m said...

"I mean, am I Islamophobic if I point out that there is a helluva lot of violence that springs from the practice of that religion?"

You don't know how ironic that statement is do you Anon? Mate, you're an expert at sticking your foot in your mouth! PhD.

Any dogma that defies common logic (yes, Islam hits that spot) has the capacity to spark violence. Asymmetrical colonial wars aren't all that good either!

Re Sharansky. At the cost of being cliched, all I can say is it's all too Orwellian!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 5:53:00 pm  
Anonymous michael said...

"I mean, am I Islamophobic if I point out that there is a helluva lot of violence that springs from the practice of that religion?"

Not if you would also say the same thing about Judaism and Christianity.

In my book, bigotry is really a matter of balance. If you really hate everyone and everything regardless of race, creed, sexual preference or national origin then you are not a bigot.

For instance, Philip Adams is also very critical of Islamic beliefs. But he seems equally critical of most other religions (except, unfortunately, secular humanism, which he fails to recognise is just another religion).

But Doogue, Crittenden and Cohn are very respectful of Jewish and Christian beliefs and guests, but far less respectful of Islamic beliefs and guests. That is clear evidence of bigotry in my eyes, in the same way that the Fairfax press's preparedness to be far tougher on black bureaucrats than white ones is also evidence of bigotry to me.

And yeah, though I couldn't track down the original source of Margo's comment that you reffed 2nd hand via AIJAC I fully believe that she said it and that it reflects anti-semitism on her part.

But it seems to me that Margo's bigotry (which also extends to Indonesians) is akin to Rachel Cohn's and of a second order type to me. They have been steeped in bigoted belief systems and are just too stupid to recognise it in themselves. Your remark I quote above seems to come from the same stable. For all I know, I might have the same sort of character faults myself but cannot see them.

Someone like Crittenden (or Bob Carr) is far worse in my eyes. These are people who are carefully and caculatedly racist in an attempt to advance a specific agenda. Their racism is unforgiveable.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 8:22:00 pm  

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