PShift: Lies and Silence – media bias in Australia

 I was born without a passport
 I grew up
 and saw my country
 become prisons
 without a passportWithout a Passport by Rasheed Hussein
1948 Palestinian refugee from al nakba, Khalil, speaks at rally against the Israeli bombing of Gaza  - there were no mainstream media present. Date: on 23 Nov 2012 photo by Brendon Qu (
1948 Palestinian refugee from al nakba, Khalil, speaks at rally against the Israeli bombing of Gaza – there were no mainstream media present. Date: on 23 Nov 2012 photo by Brendon Qu (

PShift Intro

Song for Gaza – Phil Monsour

This is part two of a series dealing with this topic – this time we are speaking of Palestine.

Today we will be speaking with two Palestinians Khalil Hamdan and Samah Sabawi. Khalil was first made a refugee in 1948 when his family were driven out of Jaffa by Israeli para-military, Hagannah and the Stern Gang. These groups later made up the Israeli Defence Force which is responsible for the bombing of homes, hotels, schools and hospitals in Gaza in 2008-9 and in recent weeks in November 2012. Previously in 1947-8 the Hagannah was responsible for bombings of hotels, cafes and various British installations in Palestine. With another terrorist organisation, the Irgun, they drove Palestinians from their villages and stole the land for Jewish refugees from the holocaust in Europe because the British, Americans and Europeans did not want them. The political organisation responsible for the taking of Palestine was Zionism which was born in Europe in the 19th century to found a Jewish state in Palestine.

The second person interviewed is Samah Sabawi who was born in Gaza at the time of the six-day war in 1967 where Israeli military occupied Gaza and the Sinai peninsula in Egypt. Samah Sabawi, an academic and writer, is well qualified to speak about the portrayal of her people in the media and on film.

Before we go to the interviews Paradigm Shift has been unlucky enough to be close to the action in Canberra this week. Well, not that close. We did manage to get hold of this candid interview by Nine News political editor, Laurie Oakes, with Prime Minister Gillard and Foreign Minister Bob Carr about events of the week in Canberra. We are going to play it for you now.

Interview transcript

Laurie Oaks: How are you Prime Minister? The Murdoch Press has been particularly savage on your position on Palestine this week, not to mention the slush fund you set up for the AWU, Australia’s Worst Union.

Julia Gillard: Yes, but I am getting on with the job of good government and by the way we prefer a two state solution in Israel. And as I have said in the past we are determined to get a National Disability Insurance Scheme in place sometime during this term or the next.

Laurie Oaks: Ok, and Bob Carr how do you see Australia’s new standing in the United Nations? Would it have been better for world peace if Finland had got the vacant spot on the Security Council? I understand Finland votes independently of the United States.

Bob Carr: Since I became Foreign Minister we have been
going great guns in the United Nations and, now we have secured our position on the Security Council, we will be working through positions we will be taking.

Laurie Oaks: But this week the Prime Minister just followed the US line by voting ‘no’ to the Palestinian bid for statehood in the UN.

Bob Carr: The way the Prime Minister consulted her colleagues was a model of consultative decision-making. The way she intelligently reached a summary conclusion and took that public was again a model of how a good leader should behave.

Laurie Oaks: But Prime Minister Gillard, didn’t you just take the US line of unqualified support for Israel?

Julia Gillard: I wanted to vote ‘no’ to the Palestinian motion in the UN because, now the US has not got its way, it will freeze and cut funds to the Palestinian authority. I support this position entirely. It is the only chance for peace.

Bob Carr: We can’t say that for sure and we still maintain the same starting point which is an absolute unequivocal condemnation of the firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas and associated terrorist entities. Israel, like any country in a position where rockets are raining down on it, raining down on civilian areas, has a right to defend itself.

Laurie Oaks: But Hamas was elected by the people of Gaza in a free and fair vote in 2006…

Julia Gillard: People forget that Hamas is a terrorist organisation that wants to destroy Israel.

Laurie Oaks: During the recent
Israel airforce attack on Gaza Hamas shot down a US supplied Israeli FA-18, you know, the planes that replaced the F111 in Australia. Doesn’t Hamas have the right to defend its people in Gaza? (The Palestine Chronicle)

Julia Gillard: Bob’s comments that Israel’s attack on Gaza were “disproportionate” were naïve and shows a disturbing lack of understanding of the conflict there. (The Australian)

Bob Carr: Now Julia, just because I rolled you in cabinet on this is no reason for you to get nasty. What does it matter what position Australia takes – the United Nations was always going to vote to offer the Palestinians provisional ‘non-member observer’ status at the general assembly. Big deal!

Laurie Oaks: Can I ask you Prime minster what is your position on President Assad of Syria?

Bob Carr (butting in): We want to get rid of Assad.

Julia Gillard: We agree on that much.

Laurie Oaks: Just like the Americans?

Bob Carr: Just what are you implying?

Laurie Oaks: Well the Americans have been arming rebel groups in Syria which has led to a lot of bloodshed and civil war.

Julia Gillard: What I have always found is that when it comes to foreign policy, it is important to remember that politics stops at the water’s edge.

Bob Carr: Whether it’s here in Canberra or in the absolute best embassy in the world, or whether it’s in Washington, or whether it’s elsewhere, what a difference one woman can make. And that woman is not here, the woman who needs no introduction, Hilary Clinton.

Laurie Oaks: Better than Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister of Australia?

Julia Gillard: In the days ahead, Australia will work with our American partners here and in Israel and across the region toward an outcome that bolsters security for the people of Israel, improves conditions for the people of Gaza and moves toward a comprehensive peace for all people of the region.

Bob Carr: Julia, stop it, that’s a direct quote from Hilary Clinton.

Laurie Oaks: That was actually a direct quote from what Hilary Clinton said to Prime Minister of Israel, Netanyahu. Tell us Prime minister, why do you think Hamas sends rockets into Southern Israel?

Julia Gillard: Hamas is a terrorist organisation.

Laurie Oaks: But Hamas supports the Palestinian Authorities’ bid for statehood in the United Nations.

Bob Carr: The prospect of serious casualties, of Israeli soldiers being killed, wounded, kidnapped, is very real for them especially so now that Mahmoud Abbas has secured provisional, provisional ‘non-member observer’ status at the UN general assembly.(The ABC)

Laurie Oaks: I think we should leave it there.

Presenter: We know that you do not believe that 4ZZZ could score such a coup and that we are just acting the parts of Prime Minister Gillard and Foreign Minister Bob Carr, if not Laurie Oaks. Whether you believe us or not … these are quotes attributed to these two politicians in the Australian Newspaper … well most of them are and I made up the rest… I’ll leave you to decide which is which.

Deportee by Woody Guthrie

Ian Curr
30 November 2012

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