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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Shaking the tree

Rupert Murdoch's Australian is a shameless apologist for Israeli terror. Today, Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan continues the delusions and praises the Australian government for taking a brave stand for Israel at the UN:

"The [Prime Minister John] Howard-[Foreign Minister Alexander] Downer duumvirate in Australian foreign policy has changed our position on the Middle East at the UN in a way that is wholly remarkable, not only independent but positively brave, utterly politically incorrect and undoubtedly right in principle; and, amazingly, is meeting with success.

"Australia has always been a strong friend of Israel. But for most of the past few decades it has taken an understandable, if less than inspiring, refuge in abstaining from most of the plethora of routinely one-sided anti-Israel resolutions and actions at the UN."

As, once again, Israel is asked by the Palestinians to "not jeopardise the peace plan", Sheridan focuses solely on the Israelis, the major US client state in the Middle East and recipient of large financial and military support.

The Palestinians are mentioned in passing - "of course the human rights of Palestinians should be respected and the UN should play a role in this" - but no mention of the occupation, no mention of Gaza still being surrounded on sea, land and air and no mention of Jewish-only roads in the occupied territories.

Sheridan sees Australia's role as supporting Israel because it's strategically important - and alongside the US - rather than actually examining the behaviour of Israel itself in the West Bank or (until recently) Gaza.

Melbourne-based academic Scott Burchill has written about former Labor leader Mark Latham and the media's response to his views on the US alliance. Sheridan, like much of the establishment press, will simply not allow a political or media figure to openly challenge the status quo on foreign affairs. Blind support for Israel is one of those cornerstones.

Burchill writes:

"The near hysterical media reaction to revelations that former Labor leader Mark Latham had serious doubts about the US alliance was more than a mobilisation of bipartisan support for the relationship amongst Australia’s political elites. It was also an expression of anger by alliance cheerleaders, especially those in the Murdoch press, that someone who retained such discordant views had not been filtered out before rising to such lofty political heights."


Blogger Wombat said...

Burchill's comments about the filter of political ascendance and frighteningly close to the bone. I think the last politician to have experienced the same assult on his person was Golf Whitlam.

Saturday, October 22, 2005 2:02:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Every leader since - Fraser, Hawke, Keating and Howard - can be relied upon to dutifully salute to the US call.

Saturday, October 22, 2005 2:03:00 pm  
Blogger anthony said...

Dont forget Bob Brown. The leader of that rather odd far-left party.

Senator Brown was urging Australia to listen to the US call for war, in 1991, and join the adventure in Iraq.

Saturday, October 22, 2005 4:44:00 pm  
Blogger Pete's Blog said...

Yes I think unqualified US or Australian support for Israel gives Israel too much momentun in the self righteousness stakes giving Israel excessive headkicking ability in the Middle East.

Israel needs some assurance that it does not need to unleash little bits of its nuclear arsenal but it does not deserve a licence to kill Palestinians or other Arabs.

So overt political and graduated financial pressure by the US on Israel (to cool tensions) is appropriate, I reckon.

Re Australia - we're aleady seen as an American lackey so we should keep right out of being a lapdog supporter of Isreal unless a substantial number of Australians (Jewish or otherwise) can persuade our government that support is warranted.

Saturday, October 22, 2005 10:23:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

But Austrailia's support is qualified, as is the American's.

Therefore, Israel deserves to have excessive headkicking ability in the Middle East.

Monday, October 24, 2005 1:10:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Excessive anything cannot be a good thing. Like power and absolute power.

That sort of power should never be given without checks and balances that that guarantee that the "headkicking" is not purely self serving or unjust.

Monday, October 24, 2005 10:26:00 pm  

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