This writer's people are from Ireland/Eire (as well as 1/8 Italian apparently). We lost one million roughly in the potato 'famine', or 20 to 25% of the population. What is not well known is that during this catastrophe the British overlords were net food exporters from Eire for filthy profits. In short blood money. That's cruelty on a historic level 150 years ago. The bravest or luckiest fled to distant parts like Australia a bit like the Jewish Diaspora. Apparently by 1960 or so Ireland was the only country in the world whose population was back up to 1860 levels.
So now we ask pointedly why the flurry of Holocaust reminder stories today in Sydney after a week of horror PR for Israel with it's bombing and attack of UN facilities and ambulance and aid trucks, and condemnation by the International Red Cross for abuse of wounded Palestinians?
From Doogue on ABC RN earlier today about 8.30 am: A complex true story about a Hungarian Jew sacrificing many lives to save others on a train away from the Nazis (Kasztner's Train).
To a full pager in the SMH at page 22 with a picture of the ominous and evil Auschwitz. (We once had an opportunity to visit in 2002 near Munich but couldn't stomach the reality. That was the trip we donated our shirt to a homeless German Jewish guy who had his bag stolen at the summer camp for backpackers.):
Guaranteeing truth, and avoiding it - World - smh.com.auShould some subjects - such as the Holocaust - be off-limits to writers and filmmakers? The German author Bernhard Schlink looks at the rules for fiction ...
To the special pleading in relation to Gaza referring to Anne Frank in a full page long side column in The Australian broadsheet here:
Are these terrible sufferings fully 60 years ago and the defeat of Nazism the free pass for the Israeli Defence Force to kill as many civillian Palestinians as they like in Gaza, or to erect cruel endless economic blockades as collective punishment?
That's at least one implication of the Holocaust history paraded today. Which terrible history no doubt feeds into the neurosis and paranoia of the Israeli population, diaspora and decision makers today.
Trouble is for the special pleading Israel lobby - including home grown Sydney PR spinners for the IDF as reported on here today: Aussie mafia of spin doctors in Israel | The Australian 10 Jan 2009
, the trouble is, no matter how much Israel loyalists keep referring to their existential risk, the country keeps expanding physically, politically, militarily and economically. And in significant ways at the expense of the some 4.5 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza, West Bank and diaspora through the world Arab and otherwise. There is no real excuse for the negligent carnage of mostly civillians in Gaza.
The most disturbing aspect of the repeated reports of firing on UN personnel, vehicles and equipment is the this report: Substantial support for the assassin of former Israeli PM peacemaker Yitzhak Rabin:
Protesters scuffle with supporters of Rabin's assassin outside jail, By Haaretz Service and The Associated Press 04/11/2007
We have read that one fifth to one third of Israelis, presumably of the Right and Far Right of the polity, support a pardon or perhaps even support the assassination of Rabin. Here's one Associated Press report:
"A survey by the Dahaf polling institute showed one-fifth of those questioned saying Amir should be pardoned now. It gave no margin of error." in Israel Marks 10 Years Since Rabin's Death 4 Nov 2005
We have read in this Haaretz report this is as high as 30% from 6/11/06 [see the bold highlighting below]
Let them move to Bulgaria. They're wanted there
There is a huge gap between MK Benny Elon's pleasant personality and his extremist political views. Elon, the son of former of Supreme Court vice president Menahem Elon, is not belligerent, nor does he coarsely attack his political rivals. He speaks softly, even when he is spelling out his somewhat delusionary plan for the voluntary transfer of the Palestinians in the territories.
Elon, 52, is a politician of a different stripe. He does not pursue journalists, nor is he constantly distributing press releases. Although he heads the National Union-National Religious Party (NU-NRP) list, he does not feel like the leader of the party. "I don't feel that I received a mandate to lead the NU-NRP," he says. "Not like Avigdor Lieberman in Yisrael Beiteinu or Eli Yishai in Shas."
At the beginning of the year, a short time before the elections to the 17th Knesset, Elon fell ill with throat cancer. He successfully underwent an operation to remove the tumor in Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva. For three months he had daily radiation treatments at the Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem. "I'm under supervision, but today I'm healthy, thank God," he says, thanking the "angels" who took care of him at Hadassah.
Lieberman, the populist
Were you surprised by Avigdor Lieberman's decision to join the government?
Elon: "No. Lieberman is moving toward the center. Lieberman is ready for the establishment of a Palestinian state. In my opinion, his proposal that the border be drawn at Karkur and that Umm al-Fahm be part of the Palestinian state is populist and irresponsible. But his moving toward the center is not ideological. In the past as well, on genuine issues, he did not demonstrate consistency. On the eve of the elections he said he was willing to leave his home in [the settlement] Nokdim."
Will he remain in the government for only a short period of time?
"Lieberman joined the government under the assumption that by the force of his personality, he will be able to effect change. He mistakenly thinks that the job the government offered him is an executive one. He will soon discover his mistake, because he will not be able to operate in the strategic arena. His membership in the government will not last long."
Do you support his proposal to copy the Cyprus model in Israel and separate between Jews and Arabs living in Israel?
"The proposal is populist and unrealistic. It was designed to placate the Jewish public, who according to surveys are more annoyed by the Israeli Arabs than by the Arabs in the territories. I don't think that the Israeli Arabs are the root of the problem. They're only a minority, after all. During the first stage, we have to solve the relations between us and the Palestinians, and only afterward to deal with relations with the Israeli Arabs."
Why have people who in the past were out-and-out rightists, such as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Lieberman and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, moderated their positions?
"My sad conclusion is that the secular right, which does not have a backbone based on faith, has apparently become bankrupt. The Tehiya movement did not pass the threshold for a Knesset seat, Tzomet fell apart, Arik Sharon and the hard core of the Likud moved toward the center, and now Lieberman as well. Gandhi [Rehavam Ze'evi] was maybe the last of the giants among the secular rightists. Where is the non-skullcap-wearing public at demonstrations of the right? Where is their dedication? There are some like MK Aryeh Eldad, but I don't know if they have even one Knesset seat today among the public."
At the Knesset session marking the fifth anniversary of the assassination of minister Rehavam Ze'evi, you said, "The demographic problem will not solve itself. It's not too late to study the Gandhi legacy." Do you still believe in the idea of transfer?
"Yes. Gandhi never spoke of transfer by coercion, only voluntary transfer. We can eliminate the Palestinian refugee camps in the territories by giving $100,000 to each family that agrees to emigrate to another country. If 1 million Palestinian families accept the proposal, which costs about $100 billion, we will solve the demographic problem."
Where will you find $100 billion?
"Every year Israel receives foreign aid from the United States totaling $3 billion. If we take the aid money and put it aside for 20 years, we will have $60 billion. If we add to that money from American and European foundations, which streams in to us, we can reach $100 billion."
Do you really believe that for $100,000 you will succeed in convincing Palestinian families to leave their homes?
"Definitely. I've checked it out. There are many countries, such as Bulgaria and Bosnia, that are willing to take them in. When a family with $100,000 arrives there, it is wanted, and will be really wealthy. Today in Gaza, families are living in hell. They have to be encouraged to leave."
How will you encourage them? They will justly claim that this is their home. Their connection to the land is stronger than ours.
"We put that into our own heads and brainwashed ourselves. I have a list of dozens of Arab families from East Jerusalem from whom we bought houses and who emigrated to South America, to Honduras and other countries. Do you know how many Arabs live in America and in Europe?"
How will you behave toward Palestinians who don't want to leave?
"With great respect. All those who are not refugees and who have homes of their own will be Jordanian citizens. They will live here, but they will vote for the Parliament in Amman. We won't interfere in religious matters, education and culture, and they will be the bridge to peace. The Palestinian Authority will be dismantled and no Palestinian state will be established between Israel and Jordan, because such a state without territorial contiguity between Gaza and Judea and Samaria will not be able to exist."
What about the Israeli Arabs?
"The Israeli Arabs who want to be Israeli citizens, with all the rights and obligations, will be required to perform national service. They will be able to remain here, but they will also have an option of being Jordanian citizens."
Many will claim that that is a racist proposal.
"In what way is it racist? Why do they want to perpetuate bloodshed? Why don't they understand that we don't have another Jewish state, while on the other hand, there are many Arab countries. The Palestinians don't want only the establishment of a Palestinian state, they don't want Israel to exist. My political plan is a means of carrying out my war of survival."
A critical year
According to a survey, 30 percent of the public believes that Yitzhak Rabin's assassin Yigal Amir should be pardoned. What is your opinion?
"Those findings are shocking. They point to a huge educational failure. I also get around to schools and hear such statements by students. When the left did not allow the right to join in internalizing the significance of this murder, it led foolish people on the right to think it's the left's problem. Murder is not the left's problem. The assassination of Rabin was a watershed, red with blood, for the State of Israel, which almost destroyed it."
Aren't you afraid that a few years from now a president here will pardon Amir?
"I'm against a pardon for Yigal Amir, and I believe that no president would do such a thing. The talk of a pardon is dangerous, because it shows the young people on the right that it's not a terrible deed. In my meetings with young people in the schools I tell them: "We hate this murderer and we will make sure that he remains in prison. If there is anyone among you who is considering doing such deeds, he should know that he will be hated by all of us.
"It worries me that there are children growing up today who think that the problem may be one between the left and the right. I am calling on people on the left: Be careful of what you say. The legacy that you want to perpetuate is not the legacy of Rabin, which is no more important than the legacy of [second prime minister] Moshe Sharett. To me the legacy of the Rabin assassination is more important."
How should Israel deal with the threat by the Iranian president to destroy Israel?
"The coming year is critical, and therefore Ehud Olmert should have formed a national emergency government, but he preferred to bring only Lieberman into his government. Olmert will be afraid to carry out daring actions against Iran to prevent the completion of the nuclear reactor, unless there is a broad consensus as to the necessity of doing so."
Israel's policy was not to position itself at the head of the struggle against Iran. Are you proposing that we be the leader in this struggle?
"The moment that the Iranian president declared that his goal was to wipe Israel off the map, it would have been irresponsible to ignore the new Hitler and say he was joking. We have the moral obligation to be the first to warn the world and to tell everyone: You cannot agree to allow the head of a country, which is a member of the UN, to threaten to destroy another country. If there is any chance of preventing the creation of the atom bomb by diplomatic means, it is preferable that empires such as the U.S. do so. The question is what happens if the U.S. does not succeed in preventing the creation of the nuclear bomb by diplomatic means?
Should we treat Ahmadinejad's threats will complete seriousness?
"Certainly. We must understand that hatred for Israel changes form. The greatest danger is to think it will once again assume the same form as in the past. This time it will appear without Wagnerian music or a Christian background; it will have a Muslim background. The public in Israel does not understand that there are millions who are raised from infancy on 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion' and on hatred for the Jews. That makes the issue of land for peace pathetic and turns the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a dark and unimportant alley."
Given national service in the IDF is compulsory that suggests 1/3 of Israelis have little problem with murder of their own peace seeking PM Rabin in 1995 to pursue their religious belief in a Greater Israel. The implications are deeply disturbing: If these fanatics support an assassination of their own PM seeking to recognise Palestinian land rights, will such fraction of same in the IDF on the trigger in Gaza have any restraint in firing on UN bodies seeking to protect Palestinian right to life and land? They will shoot the civillians to drive them out of 'their land given by the Tora'.
Contrary to the IDF spin doctors transplanted from Sydney, there is a serious question about the moral corruption within a very substantial segment of the IDF resulting in the humanitarian carnage in Gaza. Of deliberate fire on UN aid workers. On buildings full of civillians reportedly seeking refuge as directed by the same IDF. In effect of criminal murder of civillians and UN staff under cover of war - like Blackwater in Iraq. That's the problem for the moderate friends of Israel believing their own side's spin rather than looking objectively at the facts.
Nor is this the only media trickery in the last week regarding the war by Israel on Gaza and the Hamas government. The Sydney Daily Telegraph earlier this week have been keen to implicitly portray the death of a 15 year old local Jewish girl in a car accident tragedy as the result of getting mixed up with an Arabic Romeo. Not in so many words. More by pictures on the front page. Even the Herald eulogy had the Rabbi at the funeral gently pointing out she had run off the rails. The subtext is clear - you get mixed up with mixing with Arabs and you die. It's crude. It's subliminal but it's also how they like to wield their power via the high circulation front page at the Telegraph.
They were at it again this week with the picture of a kid at a western Sydney trouble spot (called 3M in Rosemeadow) over neighbour disputes dressed like a Palestinian rock thrower with face mask. Totally unrelated crime story. But somehow echoing the real international drama in Palestine. If you think this is imaginative interpretation by SAM's editor as to the subliminal subtext then consider also the same visual interpretation by the News Corp Sydney Sunday Telegraph of 11th Jan 2009 (below). The house bias by way of implication that criminals causing chaos in 3M estate are 'just like Gaza':