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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Saturday, October 01, 2005

Letter to John Howard

Bob Birch is a member of the New South Wales Friends of Palestine. He sent the following letter to Prime Minister John Howard this week:

"Under your government's new anti-terrorism laws an Australian citizen faces a jail term of between three and seven years for 'communicating inciting messages directed...in support of Australia's enemies'.

"This government aligns itself unequivocally with the policies and interests of the state of Israel. In doing so it chooses to ignore numerous United Nations resolutions calling upon the Zionist state to withdraw from territories illegally occupied since 1967.

"I am an Australian citizen. I am unequivocally committed to supporting the aspirations of the Palestinian people to regain their homeland, to compensation for stolen property and to the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

"I would prefer to see these ends achieved by non-violent, political means. However, I fully endorse the right of the Palestinian people to engage in armed resistance against a military occupation which has been in place for 38 years.

"If my views and actions are interpreted as communicating inciting messages directed in support of Australia's enemies, then so be it."

43 Comments:

Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Thankfully, NZ knows that the Arabs must negotiate with the Israelis. None of the resolutions require Israel to just leave.

Saturday, October 01, 2005 1:41:00 pm  
Blogger Andjam said...

A "Friend of Palestine" complains about anti-terrorism legislation. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

Saturday, October 01, 2005 2:06:00 pm  
Blogger anthony said...

"I fully endorse the right of the Palestinian people to engage in armed resistance against a military occupation which has been in place for 38 years"

Armed resistance? Is that what Birch calls the targeting of Israeli hospitals, buses, and civilians. Tell me, if Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinians are fighting a military occupation- why not target the military?

"right of return of Palestinian refugees."

Complete crap. What Birch wants is the right of the Palestinians to destroy Israel, followed by the inevitably massacre of its Jewish populace. OPEN YOUR EYES!!

Saturday, October 01, 2005 2:58:00 pm  
Blogger David Heidelberg said...

Anthony,

Very foolish and ill informed words. No one is advocating such an action.

The Australian Friends of Palestine support a peaceful ending to the Palestine/Israel conflict.

Saturday, October 01, 2005 3:41:00 pm  
Blogger Steve said...

Like Bob Birch, I believe that the Palestinians have suffered, and are still suffering, a massive injustice. But is "armed struggle", once the sacred battlecry of the Left, the way to correct it? Most Israelis today were born in Israel after its establishment. Like Palestinians, they had no choice about where they came into the world; it was not a world of their making.

It was a world in which two peoples lay claim to the same plot of land, and both claims had substance. It was not all one way. In such circumstances, logic would dictate that the two sides decide that after consultation, the disputed territory be split between them -- two states for two peoples.

A "democratic, secular state" for both peoples is fine on paper, but how would you get there from here? How to persuade the majority of either Jews or Arabs to give up their sense of nationhood? An impossible task, surely.

Of course the two-state solution has its enemies too -- the all-or-nothingists on both sides...the Jewish loonies who claim that God, the Big Real Estate Agent in the Sky, gave them all the land on the one hand, and people like Hamas on the other, whose dearest wish is to wipe Israel off the map altogether.

Between the two of them, retributive violence is guaranteed for a long time to come, and justice for Palestinians and Israelis alike is postponed indefinitely.

Steve Brook.

Saturday, October 01, 2005 3:48:00 pm  
Blogger evan jones said...

If one is to tackle this dispute on abstract terms of equal rights and equal wrongs, how does one interpret the continuing dispossession of Palestinians by the Israeli state?
Birch quite naively hasn't confronted that in Australia the only organisations allowed to foster terrorism, through both propaganda and finance, are those associated with the Israeli lobby.

Saturday, October 01, 2005 4:11:00 pm  
Blogger anthony said...

Oh, yes because there is no distinction between the targeting of Palestinian terrorists (not militants), and the actions of a suicide-homicide bomber. The IDF aims to kill, or capture where possible, Palestinian terrorists. Yes, civilians are killed- but this is not the intent. The Palestinians all too regularly kill themselves at stores, and on buses, taking as many Jews with them as possible. The PA breeds an environment of hate and suppression (incl. and especially of the foreign media). Israel provides its citizens with freedom and does not suppress even the groups which undermine its independence from the evils of the Arab world.

And David, whether Birch knows it or not- this right of return rubbish- which all too often refuses to acknowledge the ARAB belligerency in 1948- is far too likely to result in exactly what I said, to risk the lives of six million people in your vein hopes.

We’ve seen what happens with angry Arab mobs before (caught up in an unstoppable mob-mentality), making the Palestinians Israeli citizens (or citizens of a shared state) will not pacify them, it will not turn Arabs and Jews into brothers and sisters. They’ll tear apart Jews with their bare hands in the same fashion as the Ramallah slaughter of the IDF reservists not long ago. Why do you refuse to recognise the massive threat the so-called ‘right of return’ poses to Israelis??

Alternatively- most of you label Israel a terrorist state, yet want it merged with Gaza and the West Bank to make one single, secular state. If the Israeli Jews are as bad as their detractors (I.e., Antony) say, then what makes you think they wont massacre the Muslims?

Saturday, October 01, 2005 4:44:00 pm  
Blogger evan jones said...

Given that Anthony and his friends evidently can't or won't read, here are some pictures in pretty colours
http://www.ifamericansknew.org/
A lot of those Palestinian children are terrorists. And as we know, IDF troops were instructed to take out the little ones for the hell of it.
Anthony and his friends need to take a collective cold bath and join the real world.
And, to repeat, Anthony and his friends might enlighten us on why the Israeli state is continuing to dispossess Palestinians.
This is the essential fact on the ground that demands explanation.

Saturday, October 01, 2005 6:21:00 pm  
Blogger anthony said...

"IDF troops were instructed to take out the little ones for the hell of it"

I'm sure you believe that. You always will. No matter how much evidence independent sources, or the Israelis give you to the contrary, you will always believe that.

"And, to repeat, Anthony and his friends might enlighten us on why the Israeli state is continuing to dispossess Palestinians."

I take it you are referring to the security barrier confiscating Arab lands bordering on the 67 lines? I never stated my position on this, and you might be surprised to hear that i consider it a large waste of money- but i'm not an Israeli voter. What other disposession are you referring to? The creation of the Jewish state in 1948?!?

You can show me all the pictures of Palestinian children you like, Evan. Likewise, I can show you a number of pictures of dead Israelis, who were targeted for being Jewish. I can even show you the pictures of the IDF reservists who were torn to pieces by the brutality of the Ramallah Arabs. I'm going to point out again that; the IDF does NOT target children, but Palestinian terrorists. If you have a complaint about civilians dying (apparantly anyone in the West Bank or Gaza, despite brandishing an AK) then ask Hamas why they are based in areas designed to maximise Palestinian casualities.

Saturday, October 01, 2005 6:53:00 pm  
Blogger Rowan Berkeley said...

"The IDF aims to kill, or capture where possible, Palestinian terrorists. Yes, civilians are killed- but this is not the intent."

-- bollocks, Antony.

Saturday, October 01, 2005 7:28:00 pm  
Blogger anthony said...

Gee, we're full of wonderful arguments, Rowan.

http://www.spectator.co.nz/middle-east/israeli-soldier.htm

Saturday, October 01, 2005 7:51:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Is Rowan saying that Israel doesn't intend to kill Palestinian terrorists?

Sunday, October 02, 2005 1:54:00 am  
Blogger Nilk said...

Dumb question time here.

Why was it that when Israel pulled out of Gaza and ceded it to the Palestinians, the response of the Palestinians was to start sending firing upon Israel from the new territories?

Why did the Palestinians vow to increase the bloodshed and celebrate by demolishing synagogues and houses and infrastructure?

Why did Abbas wait until Israel started retaliating before talking about halting the rockets and mortars?

Sunday, October 02, 2005 7:57:00 am  
Blogger evan jones said...

nilnark. dumb question indeed. do you read anything? notice what Israel was doing in the West Bank?
This from Bionic Octopus:
'There is a well-thumbed play-book for this somewhere in the archives of Likud, and it reads something like this:
1) Wait for a lull and the impression of imminent progress toward peace
2) Carry out sudden targeted assassination
3) Provoke thereby pitifully impotent display of rage from Hamas/Islamic Jihad/Al-Aqsa/PFLP/Insert Chump Militant Group Here
4) Launch Armageddon on civilian refugees, women and children targeted at random
5) Contact everyone in worldwide media and package Armageddon as 'Reprisal'
6) Rinse 7) Repeat.
And again, again again again, the world will stand by and watch them do it.'

Sunday, October 02, 2005 9:34:00 am  
Blogger Nilk said...

Apparently not, evan.

What I'm think of are the events after the Israeli pull out of Gaza recently. Practically every news outlet carried images of Palestinians wreaking havoc on their new land.

What sort of housing will they have now? Where is the infrastucture? What about the businesses and farms that were left intact so that the new owners could support themselves?

Doesn't matter, I guess. The evil infidels left them behind, they must be haram and therefore destroyed.

Where will they get the resources to rebuild? And while we're at it, what aid are they getting from other arab nations?

I don't expect any concise answers, but these are surely things to be considered.

Sunday, October 02, 2005 10:11:00 am  
Blogger Andjam said...

"3) Provoke thereby pitifully impotent display of rage from Hamas/Islamic Jihad/Al-Aqsa/PFLP/Insert Chump Militant Group Here"

Is "impotent display of rage" your term for the blowing up of a cafe? Or does Israel send reprisals to people waving AK-47s about?

Sunday, October 02, 2005 11:04:00 am  
Blogger anthony said...

Impotent display of rage for Evan is the killing and maiming of 15 y.o girls on a bus to school.

Evan you are still going on about some imaginary Israeli policy of targeting civilians. There is clearly no evidence of this, unless you count some Chomsk-ian article citing anon. sources and claiming to know all about the true plans of the evil Zionist for the extermination of the Arabs.

Sunday, October 02, 2005 11:23:00 am  
Blogger evan jones said...

andjam. repeat after me 1,2,3. 3 follows 2. Go back to 2:
2) Carry out sudden targeted assassination
[The IDF kills 5 Palestinians in the West Bank on August 24]

Anthony. go back to AL's post of 24 September, a mere one week ago.
http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/index_en.asp
Refer also to AL's post from Amira Hass (23rd), taken from Haaretz of the 22nd.
'the IDF spent five years uprooting the green lungs of Gaza, mutilating its most beautiful areas and cutting off the livelihood of tens of thousands of families. The Israeli talent for ignoring the enormous destruction that we caused leads to the wrong political assessments. Ignoring it enables the IDF to continue destroying Palestinian territory in the West Bank. Along the fence, around the settlements, in the Jordan Valley, the destruction goes on as a means to continue creating facts on the ground and to guarantee that the future Palestinian entity remains as divided and split and territory-less as possible.' etc. etc.
REPEAT:
'The Israeli talent for ignoring the enormous destruction that we caused leads to the wrong political assessments.'
Did you guys learn anything at school?

Sunday, October 02, 2005 11:51:00 am  
Blogger Brian said...

Some examples of on-going land and property dispossession by Israel:

1) Construction of the wall beyond current borders. (well known)
2) Lax enforcement of civil harassment of Palestinians. Haaretz
3) Seizing property using "absentee" land lord laws.
4) Removal of other "non-authorized" housing Link

Sunday, October 02, 2005 2:12:00 pm  
Blogger Nick and Nora Charles said...

Did you guys learn anything at school?

We learned effective debating for a start Evan. In addition to asking the right questions in the search for the right answers.

The points are simple
1. Israel kept up its end of the bargain by withdrawing from Gaza.

2. Militant Palestinians respond by destroying infrastructure and lobbing a few missiles and mortars at Israel.

3. Israel responds with a surgical strike.

4. The either ineffectual or corrupt Palestinian Government says 'stop it you bad boys' without enforcing any genuine rule of law.

5. It is obvious to everyone except a few either deluded or genocidal fools that the entire drive of these violent jihadists is to wipe Israel (and Jews) off the face of the planet. No much how much land is ceded to them nor how much autonomy they have. These people will not stop. Now they have taken their geographically narrow aim into a worldwide war.

-- Nora

Sunday, October 02, 2005 2:22:00 pm  
Blogger Steve said...

The deliberate targetting of civilians or their violent death "collaterally" does nothing to endear either side to its opponents. Violence, whatever its rationale, does nothing but reinforce all-or-nothing attitudes among extremists on both sides.

The Palestinians have Hamas, whose Charter actually quotes from the "Protocols of Zion" and wishes to ethnically cleanse Jews from what it regards as sacred Palestinian territory, and the Israelis have Kach and similar groups, who wish to do just the same with Arabs.

Evidence? Put the words "Hamas Covenant" into your search engine and have a quick browse through the document. Then find the Israeli Arutz Sheva website, which quotes one Steven Shamrak: "Therefore it is right to assume that if population transfer is applicable to Jews, it must be equally good and applicable for Arabs too. From now on, with the blessing of all the world, Israel has the right to transfer Arabs from all Jewish land."

Shamrak was not being sarcastic. His other writings show he means it.

The point is that both these extremes represent minorities on their respective sides. While it can be argued that Hamas has proportionally greater influence among Palestinians than the Kach lunatics among Israelis, they are still minorities, and between them they are setting the agenda in the Middle East, with tragic results for any moves towards sanity and justice.
-- Steve Brook

Sunday, October 02, 2005 4:05:00 pm  
Blogger Andjam said...

I know 3 follows 2. Would you now be so kind as to answer my question about what "impotent display of rage" means?

Sunday, October 02, 2005 4:51:00 pm  
Blogger anthony said...

Brian, did you read the story you posted?

It points out settler aggression against Palestinians, not a state effort at murder/genocide. Some of the soldiers in the story ignored such aggression, but apparently MOST do not:

"Most of the soldiers are nice," she emphasizes, "but there are always bad soldiers, too…

And the story also points out this:

The settlers' permanent structure four floors of concrete and green iron shutters, looms like a fortress above the neighborhood homes.

Brian- why do Jews have to live in fortress-like homes?

Sunday, October 02, 2005 8:52:00 pm  
Blogger Comical_Ali said...

Since we were on the topic of British bollocks -- if Israel intentionally targets innocent palestinian civilians and engages in ethnic cleansing/genocide...why is the Palestinian population the fastest growing in the entire middle east? Surely the most logical result to ethnic cleansing/genocide would be a major decrease rather than increase in the civilian population?

Funnilly enough, I've been asking that question since the start of the intifada and got no good answers from the die hard jihadist supporters.

Sunday, October 02, 2005 10:11:00 pm  
Blogger Steve said...

I'm beginning to think that this blog is a waste of time, and will remain so as long as most of the protagonists insist on playing the "blame game" instead of seeking ways out of the dilemma.

Steve Brook

Sunday, October 02, 2005 11:02:00 pm  
Blogger Nadia said...

Reading this article reminded me of another comment I once read by Saree Makdisi:

"Suicide bombing is merely a tactic used by those who lack other means of delivering explosives. What happened in London occurs every time a U.S. or British warplane unloads its bombs on an Iraqi village.

American and British media have devoted hours to wondering what would drive a seemingly normal young Muslim to destroy himself and others. No one asked what would cause a seemingly normal young Christian or Jew to strap himself into a warplane and drop bombs on a village, knowing full well his bombs will kill civilians (and, of course, soldiers).

Because ''our'' way of killing is dressed up in smart uniforms and shiny weapons and cloaked in the language of grand causes, we place it on a different moral plane than ''theirs.''" more at http://electroniciraq.net/news/2087.shtml
----
So lets declare that western bombs and weapons are terror that must stop and with it stopping a lot of the side effects will stop haunting us.

Monday, October 03, 2005 12:20:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

You can declare that a chicken coop is a dog house, but no one will believe you. Except the dogs.

A mere declaration by a mere mortal is a worthless thing.

Monday, October 03, 2005 3:15:00 am  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Interesting point about declarations, Ibrahamav. You are quite the philosopher. Does this rule of yours apply to declaring the end of hostilities in Iraq?

Monday, October 03, 2005 10:58:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Dirt,

Thank you for the compliment. Did the rest have a point or were you hurling to see how far you could hurl?

Monday, October 03, 2005 11:38:00 am  
Blogger Comical_Ali said...

"American and British media have devoted hours to wondering what would drive a seemingly normal young Muslim to destroy himself and others. No one asked what would cause a seemingly normal young Christian or Jew to strap himself into a warplane and drop bombs on a village, knowing full well his bombs will kill civilians (and, of course, soldiers)."

Smiliarly no one asks what motviates these people to indiscrimantley murder their own and in large numbers in Iraq. Why do thay prefer to target their own inncoent civilians over US military targets (the same civilians that they purportdly fight for)? Is the "occupation" really having such toll on these poor desperate buggers that they have to murder their own?

Another thing that hardly ever gets a mention is the simple fact that the vast majority of these "insurgents" arent even native iraqis in the first place.

is there really room for moral relavitity?

it seems like you jihadis and dhimmis would make any excuse

Monday, October 03, 2005 12:40:00 pm  
Blogger Glenn Condell said...

'Another thing that hardly ever gets a mention is the simple fact that the vast majority of these "insurgents" arent even native iraqis in the first place'

How would you know you goose?

Here we go: the vast majority of the insurgents are Iraqis.

Easy isn't it?

How about you go over and find out for us?

Monday, October 03, 2005 1:29:00 pm  
Blogger Comical_Ali said...

for all we know they might even be tertiary school zionists Glenn.

to start off with the leaders of the insurgency are foreign most notable is - Zarchawi (or watever the fuck his name is).

its just common knowledge, with day to day Iraqis describing your jihadist hereos as foreigners (i.e syrians, Jordanians, Saudis etc ")

interestingly, would the likes of Pilger and that cow who recently won the syndey Peace Prize and the rest of the jihad cheer leading squad still support these "freedom fighters" who kill on average 600 innocent iraqis a month (the very people that they are purportdly fighting for and the very people the Jihadist cheer squad is speaking up for?)

Monday, October 03, 2005 2:32:00 pm  
Blogger Comical_Ali said...

for all we know they might even be tertiary school zionists Glenn.

to start off with the leaders of the insurgency are foreign most notable is - Zarchawi (or watever the fuck his name is).

its just common knowledge, with day to day Iraqis describing your jihadist hereos as foreigners (i.e syrians, Jordanians, Saudis etc ")

interestingly, would the likes of Pilger and that cow who recently won the syndey Peace Prize and the rest of the jihad cheer leading squad still support these "freedom fighters" who kill on average 600 innocent iraqis a month (the very people that they are purportdly fighting for and the very people the Jihadist cheer squad is speaking up for?)

Monday, October 03, 2005 2:32:00 pm  
Blogger Comical_Ali said...

for all we know they might even be tertiary school zionists Glenn.

to start off with the leaders of the insurgency are foreign most notable is - Zarchawi (or watever the fuck his name is).

its just common knowledge, with day to day Iraqis describing your jihadist hereos as foreigners (i.e syrians, Jordanians, Saudis etc ")

interestingly, would the likes of Pilger and that cow who recently won the syndey Peace Prize and the rest of the jihad cheer leading squad still support these "freedom fighters" who kill on average 600 innocent iraqis a month (the very people that they are purportdly fighting for and the very people the Jihadist cheer squad is speaking up for?)

Monday, October 03, 2005 2:32:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Comical Ali. How appropriate that is.
Most of the insurgency are foreign? Again, how convenient. But why let facts get in the way?

"Report by US think tank says only '4 to 10' percent of insurgents are foreigners."

http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0923/dailyUpdate.html

It's called fighting an illegal occupation. And it's not unique. History is littered with unacceptable occupations being fought brutally.

Monday, October 03, 2005 2:56:00 pm  
Blogger Comical_Ali said...

so you call the mass murders of inncoent Iraqis praying in mosques or at shopping "figting an illegal occupation"?

Is that your definition?

Monday, October 03, 2005 3:23:00 pm  
Blogger Nadia said...

comical_ali, your comment indicates you think there is only one group in Iraq, you are totally wrong.

On a daily basis many times a day too occupation troops are attacked by people who are against this illegal occupation. Occupation troops are killed daily and occupation troops are injured daily. I have personally read on Iraqi newspapers information from these groups that they strongly condemn any hate crimes between Iraqis; they are for getting rid of the occupation, for a united Iraq and a true free and democratic Iraq.

Monday, October 03, 2005 4:01:00 pm  
Blogger Comical_Ali said...

so why are they indiscrimantley killing on average a minimum of 600 innocent Iraqis a month?

your argument kinda goes to shit when considering that the herioc leader of this brave fight against the insurgency declared war on Iraq's majority -- the Shia populatoin and anyone else who happens to be non-Sunni and/or non-Arab. The minority Arab-sunni population itself is only 15%.

it must be some hell of a fight for a united Iraq.

In a space of a year these brave heroic freedom fighters killed more innocnet Iraqis than the US and Jooz have in an entire life time.

and Ant, you still havent got the balls to answer my question. Is this what you call "fighting an illegal occupation?" Oh sorry those who manage to indisrciminatley blow up and mass murder innocent Iraqis in mosques and market places (where there are no US soldiers areound) are actually Zionists posing as insurgents.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 9:48:00 pm  
Blogger Steve said...

Absolute ballocks, Comical Ali. By invading Iraq and removing the tyrant Saddam Hussein, the US and its craven allies released the sectarian genie from its bottle...just as happened in Yugoslavia after the death of the authoritarian Tito. Both Hussein and Tito, whatever their grave human rights record, at least kept these murderous forces in check. Now look what's happening -- a very good possibility of a fanatical Moslem theocracy with all that this implies for women, free thinking etc. etc. Well done George, Tony and John!
Steve Brook.

Thursday, October 06, 2005 2:35:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

The comparison with Tito is an interesting one, Steve. I suppose you could say Saddam was doing alright until he, too, decided to say "nyet".

Thursday, October 06, 2005 10:14:00 pm  
Blogger Steve said...

Dirtbike...such comparisons cannot be taken too far. As far as the Americns were concerned, Saddam was indeed "doing alright" just as long as he was killing Communists and other political opponents. We have all seen the pictures of Donald Rumsfeld being pally with Saddam in the days when the latter still toed the US line. All I am saying (and it's what I said before the invasion) is that strong-arm governments keep potential warring factions in check -- with Tito, the Serbs, Croatians, Albanians, and with Saddam, the Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds. The invasion destabilised the country, made it a haven for terrorism, and proved a heaven-sent recruiting agent for the likes of Osama bin Laden.

Thursday, October 06, 2005 11:26:00 pm  
Blogger Comical_Ali said...

wow, first there are calls to support this brave and herioc insurgency against the evil occupation. But when faced with the very simple dilemmma, that these very same brave and heroic insurgents activley and indiscrimnatley murder innocent Iraqis in Mosques or markets then the evil Americans are to blame by the very same people who support the insurgency!

How convienant. You are right -- it is absolute bollocks!! And how much more so when you say that Iraqis are not entitled to democracy and should be kept under a jack boot - now thats classical colonalist style racism and imperalism.

Friday, October 07, 2005 9:57:00 am  
Blogger Steve said...

Comical A...There is no way I could support what you describe as the "insurgency". Support is one thing, but understanding where it comes from is another. A country was invaded by people who only dimly understood what they were doing. George Bush actually said that God told him to do it. Thousands of Iraqis died violently under American bombs and rockets. The country's entire infrastructure -- roads, water supplies, sewerage -- was wrecked. One could expect a little resentment from people treated like this by foreigners. How would Aussies feel? Wouldn't many of us become "insurgents" too?

So Saddam Hussein has gone, and good riddance. But what is likely to replace him, given the actual state of affairs on the ground? Whether the Sunnis or the Shi'ites win democratic elections, the time may well come when ordinary Iraqis look back on the Saddam years with nostalgia.

Friday, October 07, 2005 6:22:00 pm  

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