Friday, June 15, 2012

Keep BDS Out Of My Valley


Many will know that I have an issue with the Tweed Echo, an openly aligned Australian Greens "independent" newspaper distributed in the Tweed Valley of northern NSW (where I live), with an internet  offshoot, that in the past has  had some difficulty masking the anti-Israel obsession that has come to characterise and define that side of Australian politics. Should there be any doubt about that you need only attempt to question the Greens on their policy on whether Israel has a right to exist.  They are agnostic. As shameful and disgusting as it is, Australia has a political party that refuses to acknowledge that the Jewish state is not only a legitimate expression of Jewish nationhood born of a hard fought national liberation movement but even refuses to accept that the country and the Jews have a right to be left in peace. The Australian Greens refuses to oppose war and open threats of genocide and instead apes the ugly rants of the rat bag nasty left and their Islamist and other fascist allies. I guess they figure there are more votes in it.

About a year ago I wrote a letter to this paper in response to some pretty cranky stuff they published even by the Australian Greens standards. Elsewhere I provided a preface:

A nasty Echo from the past

In the Tweed and Byron Shires there are a lot of Greens. They are everywhere. They are like blowflies at a Barcaldine barbeque. They even have their own newspaper, the Echo. It is the only openly politically aligned newspaper around. While one can respect their industry they show all the hallmarks of their party, including a marked intellectual cowardice. Like most Greens, they are right wing, to the point of reactionary, masquerading as progressives. They campaign against everything. Every now and then their campaigns spill over into something very ugly indeed.

The paper had published an openly antisemitic letter , just in time for the annual Byron Blues Fest. The usual grubby and odious muck. Here's an extract:
"No question of debating the issues, just a tirade of abuse and slander against those who feel strongly enough to take a stand for the human rights of the Palestinian people.
"This is the usual Zionist propaganda onslaught which sets out to crush and silence all opposition both within Israel and the shrinking West Bank and elsewhere in the world.
"The problem is not one of anti-Semitism but one of aggressive, nationalistic, expansionist Zionism. You do not have to be Jewish to be a Zionist. President Woodrow Wilson, a devout Presbyterian, was also a self-professed Zionist, so too is US Vice President Joe Biden. Zionists wrote the Balfour document."
At the time I let it pass. As you do. You would go mad if you tried to respond to this hateful filth every time it pops up.

Not content with the the paper decided to put on display its "non-anti-Semitic but anti- Zionist" credentials by publishing this choice little editorial titbit. I reproduce it in full.
"An Australian delegation will join the international Freedom Flotilla 2, which will set sail next month to break the blockade of Gaza and end Israel’s illegal collective punishment of the people of Gaza. The Australian contingent includes Sylvia Hale, former Greens member of the NSW Parliament, Vivienne Porzsolt of Jews Against the Occupation, Alex Whisson of Australians for Palestine, and youth worker Michael Coleman. The boats will carry humanitarian aid and medical supplies. Our experience with the pro-Israel lobby suggests that the delegation will be accused of anti-semitism, along with Backburner for reporting it."
Excuse me while I vomit.

So here is the letter I sent them.
Dear editor,
Your nasty little sneer about the "pro-Israel lobby", and your complaint about "accusations of antisemitism", pretty much sum up the main reason why your party, the Greens, has no place in mainstream Australian politics.
You complain about your "experience with the pro-Israel lobby". Given that you have never published anything that could be remotely described as "pro-Israel", it can only be that you never publish opinions that differ from yours or the "experience" you claim is very limited indeed. None at all. What is your problem? "They" can't be bothered with you? Who do you mean by this "lobby" anyway? Israel is solidly supported by every major political party in our country. As you would expect from a liberal democracy for the only liberal democracy in the Middle East and the only state there that provides and guarantees full political and civil rights for Arabs. Only some of your party's candidates and some of "One Nation"'s attack Israel so obsessively.Why? If by the "pro-Israel lobby", you mean Australian Jews, then say so. We need to know. About you. Not them.
Your complaint about allegations of antisemitism is absurd. I don't believe you. Some years ago I issued a challenge on Margo Kingston's Webdiary site, that would be famous in part of your paper's core market. Webdiary, I mean. The challenge was to produce a single example of someone serious, seriously suggesting that criticism of Israeli policy, or government, was of itself antisemitism. No takers. A few attempts but no cigars. Not one. It's been over five years now.
The opposite is the truth. It is impossible to defend Israel, and the democratic secular Zionist principles that underpin it, without being accused of racism. Sooner or later it always happens. Always. It is also true that much of the incessant attacks on Israel, especially from the political extremes, and from militant Islamism, is driven by antisemitism. This cannot be honestly denied. It is everywhere.
I said then how ubiquitous your whiny complaint was. "Anybody who criticises Israel risks being labelled an antisemite". Rubbish. A lie. Produce an example. Just one will do. This lie was intended to intimidate or pre-empt those who seek to defend Israel especially against its harshest critics. Nothing has changed.
The situation in Gaza can be summed up in a sentence. Israel has the stark choice of either attempting a military blockade or simply allowing Hamas to become as lethally armed as Hezbollah. Gaza is an Iranian colony ruled by a subsidiary of the Muslim Brotherhood. Their grievance with Israel has nothing at all to do with "occupation". Gaza is not "occupied". Their grievance has everything to do with the fact that Israel is free, liberal and democratic and, above all, with the fact that Israel is the Jewish state. They say so again and again.
Nor do I accept that for you this is about the "Palestinians". The old hard left that now control your party in this state does not give a rat's arse about the Palestinians. They never have and they have been around for a long time. If they gave a damn at all they would be hollering from the rooftops for the liberation of these tragic people from the death grip of Hamas. For them, this is not about the Palestinians at all. Even less is it about the millions of people from Tunisia to Syria and beyond right now risking their lives in a desperate brave struggle for some of those freedoms that Israeli Arabs enjoy as of right and have for decades. For the old hard left, this is about something else entirely.
It is an outrage that your party sought to impose BDS sanctions on Israel, as part of a global campaign aimed at the destruction of the Jewish state, almost as soon as it took effective control of a Sydney council. I can think of no clearer example of abuse of elected office at local government level. I will be publicly asking Greens candidates, especially any standing for re-election in the Tweed Shire, precisely what her position on BDS is. I will do this in an open detailed letter that I will copy you and other local press. If the Greens want this argument then I for one will be happy to oblige.

 And what happened? You know what happened. The Echo declined to publish the letter. This is how  they demonstrate their commitment to free speech and debate.

But today, almost exactly one year later, they did publish this letter.


Ex-Israeli Defence Force platoon commander and now psychotherapist, Avigail Abarbanel, is the editor of Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists. She was due to be part of a panel at the Limmud Oz Jewish cultural festival, Monash University, during the long weekend, but the event was cancelled without explanation. The Limmud Oz Board have been accused of political censorship.
Byron Bay’s reputation as a centre for free speech and debate, and as a vigorous supporter for writers through the Writers’ Festival, will welcome Avigail to the Community Centre on 23 January at noon where she will speak to her book. Entry is by gold coin donation.
Gareth Smith, Byron Bay
and check out this comment they also published!
Yes, I heard about Avigail’s problem with censorship at Monash on one of Philip Adams’ radio shows this week. She and her colleague explained themselves very well, to Adams’ obvious discomfort. He’s a notorious supporter of Zionism, having an apostate daughter living in Israel, although he pretends to be ‘open minded’ about the Middle East.

Catch it on ABC RN archives
A huh. Well I too am passionate advocate of free speech and debate so I posted this comment.
It is a serious disgrace to Australian democracy that we harbour so many haters of Israel and the Jews; especially it seems around Byron Bay masquerading as a “centre of free speech and debate”. Try telling the truth. The last thing you want is free speech and debate.
I have no idea who Avigail Arabanel is but you can be certain that if she had anything worthwhile to say she could have said it in Israel. Israel is the centre of free speech and debate in the Middle East. Israel is the only centre of free speech and debate in the Middle East. Why did she have to come to the other side of the planet to say it?
By my count there were 159 presenters at the Limmud Oz 2012 festival of Jewish culture and learning last weekend.
Who knows how many were , in your words, “due to be part of a panel discussion?”. Hundreds? Over a thousand? Look for yourself.
I have no idea why Avigail was “cancelled without explanation” from one of the hundreds of panels that must have been convened during the festival. Anyone who has had anything to do with the organisation of this sort of event, such as the Byron Writers’ Festival for example, will know this is unavoidable but I know one thing for certain .
Your paper has shown not the slightest bit of interest in anything that the other hundreds of speakers at Limmud Oz 2012 have had to say and you can be sure that not one of them will be invited to speak at the Byron Bay Community Centre, irrespective of the date.
Please do not lecture Israel and the Jews about free speech and debate. I don’t think you quite understand the concept.
Geoffff’s Joint, Bar and Grill.
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
So how has this centre of free speech and debate handled my latest post?

We don't know yet. My comment is still "awaiting moderation."

We'll see. Who knows? This may be the first time ever the Australian Greens and their supporters have ever allowed a contrary opinion to their anti-Israel blather to b published. Anyone prepared to lay odds?
I will let you know. 
Cross posted Geoffff's Joint, Bar and Grill


  1. "You would go mad if you tried to respond to this hateful filth every time it pops up."

    Tell me about it. Though I haven't gone mad yet...


    Nice letter.

  2. Kol hakavod !!

    Well said Geoff, I too am waiting for a comment to be published.

    It’s a well known fact that the ferals of Byron Bay are the worst example of the loony left Greens in the country. That’s why I asked you to try and show the video I sent you there. That would really sock it to them. There is a sizeable Jewish Community in Byron Bay that would help you.

    Avigail Abarbanel is an Israeli who came to Oz as a child.

    Vivienne Porzsolt and Peter Slezak are bottom dwelling scum. No other words for them.

    Let me put you in the picture here.

    Avigail Abarbanel put in an application for a session at Limmud Oz. Limmud Oz is part of Shalom College at the University of New South Wales.

    It was only ever just an application, however Limmud Oz never advised them of that fact, they PRESUMED they’d been accepted.. This bunch of the 'enemy within' took it as a personal affront and claimed they had been banned and removed from the list. I read about it elsewhere from a post by a newly appointed member of the Limmud Oz Board.

    These people will stop at nothing to drag Israel down. I went through months of hell with them during the Marrickville fiasco.
    To hear this bunch of Israel haters, make anti-Israel speeches in front of a crowded Council Chamber, made me sick to the pit of my stomach

    What makes it so much worse is the fact all the while they proclaim their Jewishness.

    Here is Slesak himself

  3. Good on you, Geoffff.

    This is what I like to think of as "taking the fight to the bastards."

    Keep us updated, please.

  4. Mike and Geoff

    Can you whistle?

    If you can start now.!!

    That bunch up there are the vilest antisemites in the country.

  5. Thanks Shirl for the background. I figured it was something like that.

    My comment is still "awaiting moderation". Yours too I see.

    I think we know what sought of "moderation" we can expect from this "centre of free speech and debate".

  6. My comment is waiting on the ABC programme and now this one on the Echo. Let's see. Yours is posted

    **Avigail and her bunch of self haters, were not censored, neither were they cancelled, because to be either cancelled or censored, one has to be accepted to start with. Which they never were.

    This gang of self haters is Jewish in name only, and they use that name as a badge of honour to draw attention to themselves. They revel in the glory and the highlight of it all.

    At rallies, protests etc, one hears the sheer delight of commentators when they say “Well, it must be right they are Jews!”

    Wow, self haters with an axe to grind.***

  7. They believe in Free Speech about as much as the man-in-the moon does.

    They even censor what people can post on their abominable Youtube videos

    You should have heard the racket they made on Thursday night at the venue where Major General Elazar Stern was speaking. Truly pathetic. They claim on their facebook page that they out numbered the people who attended the session.

    What a pathetic joke. There were no more than 30 of them and we had a packed hall