Middle East: ‘stop all the clocks’

gaza rally july 2014

Israeli Ground Invasion of
Gaza began on Thursday 
17 July 2014 ... 
from the east, from the north
by land, by sea and by air
with tanks, guns, F16s
heliocopter gunships, apache
rockets, iron drome ... 
... an invasion on a territory 
smaller than Surfers Paradise 
in Queensland,housing 
1.7M defenceless 
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
W H  Auden

[Editor’s note – Israel is occupying Gaza at a time when gas/oil companies are vying for the gas fields off the Gaza Strip. There are plenty of countries laying claim to the gas field .. Cyprus, Israel, Egypt, Lebanon … who will get the royalties?

There should be a reevaluation of Boycott Divestments and Sanctions against Israel (BDS) but where should it start? And why single out Gaza as the starting point?

Israel and the US are involved in promoting conflict and destabilisation across the region helped along by their allies e.g. the Saudi Royal Family … there is more conflict now in ‘the middle east’ than at any time since World War II … people are being killed and injured in numbers in Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, Iran, Lebanon, and Egypt … not to mention the goons and neo fascists burning a Palestinian teenager  and terrorising people on the West Bank.

Occupied territories and GazaThe Israeli ‘Defence’ Forces IDF have begun clearing the northern part of Gaza (see map) and Netanyahu has said they will not be deterred by international opinion. So where does the BDS campaign go?

So if people on the Left wish to talk about Gaza …. will Israel send in tanks, a ground invasion that ends in occupation of Gaza? and at what cost to Palestinians? how many thousands or tens of thousands of civilians will Israeli army murder if they choose that option?

Are Israelis worried about Hamas having tank penetrating rockets (as does hizbollah in Lebanon)? No. Is the Israeli army worried about a repeat of 2006 where hizbollah drove Israel out of Lebanon by destroying its tanks? It appears not.

Upon Invasion, what can we do here in Australia? A human rights activist told me at NAIDOC on friday 13 July when referring to Gaza, how terrible it is what humans do to each other, as if it is a two-sided thing.When, in fact, it is Israel that is killing Palestinians in Gaza – and it is their children that take the brunt of the carnage, like the three boys, on a beach  looking for crabs), who were killed by an Israeli missile or their cousins a few hours later who were killed at home by aerial bombardment. There have been few Israeli casualties because the conflict is so one-sided. Israel is bombing the shit out of people in an open air prison?!@#*! (see map)


So, unlike 2008/9 it is pretty clear that Israeli military occupation of Gaza is a real possibility … each time Israel ups the pain inflicted.

BDS has not deterred Israel from bombing Gaza (Israelis call it ‘mowing the grass’), or from putting down demonstrations on the West Bank. These demonstrations are coming from all the Palestinian groups and in many towns, nor has BDS stopped Israel from detaining thousands of people unlawfully or of terrorising children … in fact Israel has run out of Hamas targets in Gaza … and that is why Israeli pilots and missiles are bombing everyone … in mosques, hospitals, homes, streets, schools, everywhere, indiscriminately …. the same as last time 2012 and 2010 and the time before that 2008/9 …. ad infinitem. it never stops!

In the meantime Julie Bishop, as Australia’s foreign minister has everything under control here (sic), she is pulling out of Gaza all the possible witnesses to the genocide and giving Israel the green light (sic) … with the full backing of the press, especially the murdoch press (see the shameful articles in The Australian about Mike Carlton’s objection to the slaughter published in the rival Fairfax paper, the Sydney Morning Herald Mike Carlton resigns from The Sydney Morning Herald.

And what has been done to bring the Zionists here in Australia to account?

Why are the greens so quiet on Gaza? and why should the greens be singled out? …. and what of the left, the workers movement, the unions – where do they stand what support do they offer? What has the Left done that is effective in stopping the genocide in Palestine?

And why is there so little organised discussion  within the workers movement about what to do and how?

Little has been done here in Australia that is effective resistance to the Australian, Israeli, & US war-mongers, but at least we have won the right to demonstrate our opposition. It may not be much, but not to do so is only to let the war-mongers believe they can get away with more …

“A well-informed and articulate young man speaking up for Palestinian human rights, an end to the occupation, an end to the siege of Gaza, …” this facebook reference has disappeared, no real explanation from fb (sic). https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10203575507082028

In this cold desolate hour
Keep warm
Burn a candle
In snow
Almost blue;
are living ...
Dream of snakes
Kill one,
A bigger one appears
           -- Ian Curr

References: This article was originally called ‘Sunday, too far away’ in reference to the timing of one of the rallies in protest against the Israeli slaughter of people in Gaza. Its current title is a reference to the W H Auden poem quoted above.

Sunday Too Far Away is an Australian feature film was released in 1975. The original film concerned the 1956 shearer’s strike. The original cut of the film was over two hours. A number of scenes were reduced during post production, including the removal of Foley’s romance with the grazier’s daughter. Didn’t stop it from winning a number AFI awards.

Responses: The following comments were added by the editors in an attempt to show the strength and weakness of the response to this human tragedy. There may be a humanitarian ceasefire but can there be peace without justice?

Ian Curr
14 July, updated 19 July & 1 Aug 2014

27 thoughts on “Middle East: ‘stop all the clocks’

  1. Ray Bergmann says:

    I think that thought has to be given to ways of creating a political environment where the government would see it to be in their interest to make decisions that accord with the sentiments of the majority of the population, rather than following the dictates of wealthy donors. Organisations like Amnesty International have sold out to wealthy donors who set the guidelines of what the organisation will report on.

    There has to be a way of securing a bottom upwards decision-making and strategy-formation, rather than a top down system that can be bought out by oligarchs. Many small organisations, whether they be political, religious, environmental, anti-nuclear/anti-war, could establish committees on all these crucially important issues like colonial/imperial/zionist oppression/aggression, basic human rights issues, racism, environmental pollution and degradation, etc. These committees could then link up to be represented in a democratic way in larger lobbies that would have inbuilt protection against being captured (i.e. bought out) by oligarchs.

    I wonder if that’s a possible way to create a political environment where the government would see it to be in their interest to make decisions that accord with the sentiments of the majority of the population.

  2. Hamas Tunnels Prompted Invasion of Gaza? says:

    Trouble Underfoot in an Israeli Kibbutz Near Gaza

    SUFA, Israel — Israel’s decision to invade Gaza has its roots just outside of this small kibbutz in southern Israel where open fields and citrus orchards offer a pastoral scene that residents say has long been deceptive.

    At dawn on Thursday, 13 Hamas gunmen from Gaza emerged from the mouth of an underground tunnel about a mile away, inside Israel territory. The air force thwarted the attack, but the government said that the attempted incursion was the final straw and that the ground invasion would commence

    … see http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/19/world/middleeast/hamas-gaza-strip-tunnels-led-to-israels-invasion.html?_r=0

  3. Ray Bergmann says:

    J.J. Goldberg wrote in “How Politics and Lies Triggered an Unintended War in Gaza”, The Jewish Daily Forum, 10 July 2014 [http://forward.com/articles/201764/how-politics-and-lies-triggered-an-unintended-war/?p=all#ixzz37sQb6McW]:
    “The last attack on Gaza, the eight-day Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, targeted Hamas leaders and taught a sobering lesson.  Hamas hadn’t fired a single rocket since, and had largely suppressed fire by smaller jihadi groups. Rocket firings, averaging 240 per month in 2007, dropped to five per month in 2013. Neither side had any desire to end the détente. Besides, whatever might replace Hamas in Gaza could only be worse… The last seven years have been the most tranquil in Israel’s history. Terror attacks are a fraction of the level during the nightmare intifada years — just six deaths in all of 2013. But few notice. The staged agony of the kidnap search created, probably unintentionally, what amounts to a mass, worldwide attack of post-traumatic stress flashback… Amid the rising tension, cabinet meetings in Jerusalem turned into shouting matches. Ministers on the right demanded the army reoccupy Gaza and destroy Hamas… In Gaza, leaders went underground. Rocket enforcement squads stopped functioning and jihadi rocket firing spiked. Terror squads began preparing to counterattack Israel through tunnels… On June 29, an Israeli air attack on a rocket squad killed a Hamas operative. Hamas protested. The next day it unleashed a rocket barrage, its first since 2012. The cease-fire was over. Israel was forced to retaliate for the rockets with air raids. Hamas retaliated for the raids with more rockets. And so on.” 

  4. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39142.htm

    FOR A moment on Tuesday it seemed as if a cease-fire had been achieved, much to the relief of Binyamin Netanyahu and his generals.

    But it was an optical illusion. The mediator was the new Egyptian dictator, a person loathed by Islamists everywhere. He is a man who has killed and imprisoned many hundreds of Muslim Brothers. He is an open military ally of Israel. He is a client for American largesse. Moreover, since Hamas arose asan offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, General Abd-al-Fatah Al-Sisi
    hates them with all his heart, and does not hide it.

    So, instead of negotiating with Hamas, he did something exceedingly stupid: dictate a cease-fire on Israeli terms without consulting Hamas at all. Hamas leaders learned about the proposed cease-fire from the media and rejected it
    out of hand.

    My own opinion is that it would be better if the Israeli army and Hamas negotiated directly. Throughout military history, cease-fires have been arranged by military commanders. One side sends an officer with a white flag to the commander of the other side, and a cease-fire is arranged – or not. (An American general famously answered such a German offer with “Nuts!”).

    In the 1948 war, on my sector of the front, a short cease-fire was arranged by Major Yerucham Cohen and a young Egyptian officer called Gamal Abd-al-Nasser.

    Since this seems to be impossible with the present parties, a really honest broker should be found.

    In the meantime, Netanyahu was pushed by his colleagues/rivals to send the troops into the Strip, to try at least to locate and destroy the tunnels dug by Hamas under the border fence to stage surprise attacks on border

    WHAT WILL be the end of it? There will be no end, just round after round, unless a political solution is adopted.

    This would mean: stop the rockets and the bombs, end the Israeli blockade, allow the people of Gaza to live a normal life, further Palestinian unity under a real unity government, conduct serious peace negotiations, MAKE PEACE.

  5. Hamas strikes at Israeli nuclear weapon site says:

    [Editor’s Note: From Golda Meir onwards Israeli leaders have threatened Arabs with nuclear weapons. In the 1970s Former Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, even entered into this discussion of nuclear attack with Golda Meir (on the Israeli side, of course). Hamas is clearly trying to attack military targets in Israeli. Read these reports below (critically).]

    The Israeli military says two of its soldiers have been killed in southern Israel by Hamas militants who used a tunnel to escape Gaza in a cross-border raid.

    Local media reports the militants ambushed a group of soldiers who fired back, killing one militant, with the rest of the Hamas team then retreating back into Gaza.

    Since the ground incursion, the military says it has killed 70 Hamas gunmen and uncovered five tunnels into Israel.

    Also in the south, an Israeli Bedouin man was killed and four family members wounded, two of them children, when a rocket hit their desert encampment not far from Israel’s nuclear reactor in Dimona, police said.

    The latest incident in Gaza saw one man killed in an air strike on the northern town of Jabaliya shortly after two were killed in a strike near Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, officials said.

    Another two people were killed in Zeitun, east of Gaza City… http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-19/casualties-rise-in-gaza-crisis/5609498

    The Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas, this morning announced that they had struck the southern Israeli city of Dimona with two M75 rockets.

    The group said in a press statement that: “The mujahedeen were able to attack Dimona with two homemade M75 missiles.” … see https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/12875-al-qassam-brigades-another-two-rockets-hit-dimona

    Negev Nuclear Research Center
    Most worldwide intelligence agencies estimate that Israel developed nuclear weapons as early as the 1960s, but the country has intentionally maintained a “nuclear ambiguity”, neither acknowledging nor denying that it possesses nuclear weapons. The Israeli nuclear weapon site is in the Negev desert near Dimona.

  6. Justice for Palestine says:

    Brisbane rally against Israel’s brutality in Palestine. Free Gaza!

    Today 20 July at 1pm in King George Square

    Join us for a rally and march against the assault on Palestine and the Palestinian people, including the killing of 314 Palestinians (including 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, murdered brutally by Israeli settlers), the bombing of Gaza, the mass arrests of over 600, and the raids, attacks, tear-gassing, invasions and closure that Palestinians are subjected to.

    Share the Facebook page for the rally with your friends and family. https://www.facebook.com/events/1472994132943276

    Let’s send a strong message of support from Brisbane to Gaza this Sunday.

  7. 1982 Demonstration in Brisbane to protest the Massacre of Palestinian refugees at Sabra and Chatilla says:

    About 2,000 people attended the rally in 2014 … a lot more than the 40 in 1982!
    32 years later, same square (KGSq), same city (Brisbane), two brothers from the same family speaking — the older in 1982, the younger in 2014 — Brisbane has changed, the world has changed; a defining moment for the struggle of the Palestinians, maybe?
    The government doesn’t bother banning marches now, they know that the protests will eventually peter out … it is a form of containment to allow the demonstrations to occur, because the media no longer bothers to turn up, they is less public controversy, little disruption to traffic.


  8. [Editor’s Note: Recently two Hamas rockets hit Dimona … Hamas is trying to strike at military targets … like the others fired at Israel, the rockets did not have explosive warheads and therefor did little damage. To know more about Dimona read the statement below about a person who worked there… Mordechai Vanunu. ]

    On 25 December, Mordechai Vanunu’s 7th Supreme Court Appeal for his right to leave ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’ was heard.

    On 29 December, Supreme Court Justice Asher Grunis denied Vanunu’s Appeal stating, “The restrictions are intended to prevent future dissemination of classified material. In recent years the court has examined the necessity of the restrictions several times, and each time has been convinced that they are necessary for state security. The evidence shown here, including the covert evidence, indicates that the plaintiff is still a source of classified information, and is not hesitant to disseminate the information.”

    Vanunu told Eileen Fleming, “All the secrets I had were published in 1989 in an important book, by [Nuclear Physicist] Frank Barnaby, “The Invisible Bomb: Nuclear Arms Race in the Middle East.”

    In 1986, Barnaby was hired by the London Sunday Times to vet Vanunu’s story and he testified at Vanunu’s closed door trial: “I found Vanunu very straightforward about his motives for violating Israel’s secrecy laws he explained to me that he believed that both the Israeli and the world public had the right to know about the information he passed on. He seemed to me to be acting ideologically.

    “Israel’s political leaders have, he said, consistently lied about Israel’s nuclear-weapons programme and he found this unacceptable in a democracy. The knowledge that Vanunu had about Israel’s nuclear weapons, about the operations at Dimona, and about security at Dimona could not be of any use to anyone today. He left Dimona in October 1985.”

    We the undersigned petition the World Media to seek and report the truth about Israel’s Nuclear Deceptions and to Israel we say the only way Vanunu can harm ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’ is with Bad PR! …

  9. In the article “”We are Israeli reservists – We refuse to serve” 55 Israeli soldiers and reservists who refuse to serve any more in the Israeli army wrote this insightful explanation of why they have signed the petition located at http://www.lo-meshartot.org/, Here are some excerpts from the article published in the Washington Post on the 23 July 2014 [http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/07/23/we-are-israeli-reservists-we-refuse-to-serve/]:

    We are more than 50 Israelis who were once soldiers and now declare our refusal to be part of the reserves. We oppose the Israeli Army and the conscription law. Partly, that’s because we revile the current military operation. But most of the signers below are women and would not have fought in combat. For us, the army is flawed for reasons far broader than “Operation Protective Edge,” or even the occupation. We rue the militarization of Israel and the army’s discriminatory policies.

    To us, the current military operation and the way militarization affects Israeli society are inseparable. In Israel, war is not merely politics by other means — it replaces politics. Israel is no longer able to think about a solution to a political conflict except in terms of physical might; no wonder it is prone to never-ending cycles of mortal violence. And when the cannons fire, no criticism may be heard.

    This petition, long in the making, has a special urgency because of the brutal military operation now taking place in our name. And although combat soldiers are generally the ones prosecuting today’s war, their work would not be possible without the many administrative roles in which most of us served. So if there is a reason to oppose combat operations in Gaza, there is also a reason to oppose the Israeli military apparatus as a whole…

    We were soldiers in a wide variety of units and positions in the Israeli military—a fact we now regret, because, in our service, we found that troops who operate in the occupied territories aren’t the only ones enforcing the mechanisms of control over Palestinian lives. In truth, the entire military is implicated. For that reason, we now refuse to participate in our reserve duties, and we support all those who resist being called to service.

    The Israeli Army, a fundamental part of Israelis’ lives, is also the power that rules over the Palestinians living in the territories occupied in 1967. As long as it exists in its current structure, its language and mindset control us: We divide the world into good and evil according to the military’s categories; the military serves as the leading authority on who is valued more and who less in society — who is more responsible for the occupation, who is allowed to vocalize their resistance to it and who isn’t, and how they are allowed to do it. The military plays a central role in every action plan and proposal discussed in the national conversation, which explains the absence of any real argument about non-military solutions to the conflicts Israel has been locked in with its neighbors.

    The Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are deprived of civil rights and human rights. They live under a different legal system from their Jewish neighbors. This is not exclusively the fault of soldiers who operate in these territories. Those troops are, therefore, not the only ones obligated to refuse. Many of us served in logistical and bureaucratic support roles; there, we found that the entire military helps implement the oppression of the Palestinians…

    The central place of the military in Israeli society, and this ideal image it creates, work together to erase the cultures and struggles of the Mizrachi, Ethiopians, Palestinians, Russians, Druze, the Ultra-Orthodox, Bedouins, and women.

    There are many reasons people refuse to serve in the Israeli Army. Even we have differences in background and motivation about why we’ve written this letter. Nevertheless, against attacks on those who resist conscription, we support the resisters: the high school students who wrote a refusal declaration letter, the Ultra orthodox protesting the new conscription law, the Druze refusers, and all those whose conscience, personal situation, or economic well-being do not allow them to serve. Under the guise of a conversation about equality, these people are forced to pay the price. No more.

    Yael Even Or, Efrat Even Tzur, Tal Aberman, Klil Agassi, Ofri Ilany, Eran Efrati, Dalit Baum, Roi Basha, Liat Bolzman, Lior Ben-Eliahu, Peleg Bar-Sapir, Moran Barir, Yotam Gidron, Maya Guttman, Gal Gvili, Namer Golan, Nirith Ben Horin, Uri Gordon, Yonatan N. Gez, Bosmat Gal, Or Glicklich, Erez Garnai, Diana Dolev, Sharon Dolev, Ariel Handel, Shira Hertzanu, Erez Wohl, Imri Havivi, Gal Chen, Shir Cohen, Gal Katz, Menachem Livne, Amir Livne Bar-on, Gilad Liberman, Dafna Lichtman, Yael Meiry, Amit Meyer, Maya Michaeli, Orian Michaeli, Shira Makin, Chen Misgav, Naama Nagar, Inbal Sinai, Kela Sappir, Shachaf Polakow, Avner Fitterman, Tom Pessah, Nadav Frankovitz, Tamar Kedem, Amnon Keren, Eyal Rozenberg, Guy Ron-Gilboa, Noa Shauer, Avi Shavit, Jen Shuka, Chen Tamir

    The petition for Israeli soldiers and reservists is located at http://www.lo-meshartot.org/.

  10. Who will break the silence? says:

    [Editor’s Note: The union responses (Sydney uni NTEU, APHEDA etc) should be seen in the context of the whole labour movement … one branch of the NTEU has condemned the attack, where are the other union branches? What of their national bodies? What of the ACTU? Who will break the silence? Ian Curr, July 2014.]

    National Tertiary Education Union NTEU

    Today the Sydney University branch of the National Tertiary Education Union NTEU, which covers university staff, debated and passed the following motion:

    Motion to condemn Israel’s attack on Gaza

    That this meeting of NTEU members of the Sydney University Branch:

    * strongly condemns Israel’s attack on the Gaza strip;

    *draws particular attention to the wide ranging use of indiscriminate military force against civilians in Gaza by the Israeli military, which has so far resulted in hundreds of deaths, over half of which are women and children. Members also strongly condemn attacks on medical facilities such as the Israeli military’s attack on al-Wafa hospital in eastern Gaza City. The al-Wafa hospital receives funds from APHEDA, the union aid body, which is funded by member dues;

    * calls on the Australian government to break military ties with Israel;

    * affirms its support for political negotiations between democratically elected leaders in the Middle East to reduce violence, promote human rights and ensure compliance with international law in the region.

    29th July statement. Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA will receive $1 million to assist in emergency relief and the reconstruction of project work. Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA has been working in the West Bank and Gaza for 25 years with partner organisation, the MA’AN Development Centre … Please donate to APHEDA’s Gaza appeal http://www.apheda.org.au/projects/mideast/pages/1250724004_14548.html

  11. Australian MPs response says:

    Australian MPs take action on Gaza

    27 Jul 2014
    Lee Rhiannon
    The following letter has been signed by a number of Australian politicians. It has been covered by the ABC and SMH.

    25 July 2014

    We the undersigned members of Australian federal and state parliaments, call on all Australian politicians to condemn the ongoing Israeli military bombardment and invasion of Gaza.

    We call on Australian politicians to support an immediate cessation of hostilities and a ceasefire deal which includes an end to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories and to the blockade of Gaza.

    We call on all Australian politicians to also support the United Nations Human Rights Council’s decision to launch an independent inquiry into purported violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

    Over 1200* Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, since Israel started its military attack on Gaza three weeks ago. The United Nations says at least 75 percent of the dead are civilians, including an estimated 168 children. In the last two days, Palestinian children have been killed at a rate of one per hour.

    The rockets fired from Gaza are not in any way justified and insofar as they threaten and harm civilians are illegal under international law. However, these imprecise rockets cannot be compared with the broad-scale bombing of Gaza by Israel which has one of the world’s largest military forces.

    Collective punishment is not permitted under the Geneva conventions and is a war crime.

    Hospitals, places of worship, and a centre for people with disabilities have been among the Israeli military’s targets.

    The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is providing shelter to more than 102,788 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

    The international community including Australia has a vital responsibility to put pressure on Israel to end its current military attack on Gaza and broker a solution of justice and peace.

    *updated 30 July 2014

    Signed by –
    1. Maria Vamvakinou MP, Labor
    2. Melissa Parke MP, Labor
    3. Laurie Ferguson MP, Labor
    4. Alan Griffin MP, Labor
    5. Sharon Claydon MP, Labor
    6. Adam Bandt MP, Greens
    7. Barbara Perry MP, Labor
    8. Andrew Giles MP, Labor
    9. Paul Lynch MP, Labor
    10. Jamie Parker MP, Greens
    11. Lynda Voltz MLC, Labor
    12. Shaoquett Moselmane MLC, Labor
    13. David Shoebridge MLC, Greens
    14. Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, Greens
    15. Dr John Kaye MLC, Greens
    16. Jeremy Buckingham MLC, Greens
    17. Jan Barham MLC, Greens
    18. Senator Claire Moore, Labor
    19. Senator Nick Xenophon, Independent
    20. Senator Christine Milne, Greens
    21. Senator Lee Rhiannon, Greens
    22. Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens
    23. Senator Larissa Waters, Greens
    24. Senator Janet Rice, Greens
    25. Senator Richard Di Natale, Greens
    26. Senator Penny Wright, Greens
    27. Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens
    28. Senator Scott Ludlam, Greens
    29. Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Greens
    30. Senator Sue Lines, Labor
    31. Tammy Franks MLC, Greens
    32. Graham Perrett MP, Labor
    33. Senator Anne Urquhart, Labor
    34. Terri Butler MP, Labor
    35. Julie Owens MP, Labor
    36. Lisa Chesters MP, Labor
    37. Senator Gavin Marshall, Labor
    38. Senator Anne McEwen , Labor
    39. Senator Carol Brown, Labor
    40. Senator Doug Cameron, Labor
    41. Cassy O’Connor MLA, Greens
    42. Senator Jan McLucas, Labor
    43. Lynn MacLaren MLC, Greens
    44. Jill Hall MP, Labor
    45. Jackie Trad MP, Labor
    46. Malcolm Fraser, former Liberal Prime Minister
    47. Shane Rattenbury MLA, Greens
    48. Yvette Berry MLA, Labor
    49. Bronwyn Halfpenny MP, Labor
    50. Tony Piccolo MP, Labor
    51. Andrew Wilkie MP, Independent
    52. Senator Lisa Singh, Labor
    53. Khalil Eideh MP, Labor
    54. Lee Tarlamis MP, Labor
    55. Johan Scheffer MP, Labor

    Any Australian politician who would like to add their name to this letter may contact the office of Melissa Parke or Senator Lee Rhiannon: melissa.parke.mp@aph.gov.au orsenator.rhiannon@aph.gov.au.

  12. indigenous social justice response says:

    it is far too long that the genocidal attacks against the civilian population of gaza must stop. and stop immediately.

    it now appears that the netanyahu government is in an all-out war of extermination of the palestinians people. this genocide is covered by the puerile assertion that the rockets from gaza must stop and hamas be wiped out entirely. there is no recognition that hamas is the legitimate government of gaza and any peace deal must be done with their representatives as government. peace deals with the corpses of women and children are very much a poor choice.

    the zionists in isreal consider that they must eliminate the threat that they see as being on ‘their’ borders. equally, the palestinians see that they have only their lives to lose having lived in the world’s largest gaol and suffering too many human rights abuses for too many years. their every move, their every day normal actions are judged and monitored as to whether that action is a threat to isreal. their very lives depend on the hated isreali!

    as isreal feels threatened by the palestinians so too the gazans know they are threatened. after many years of physical, psychological and human rights abuses it seems to me that both sides have reached the frustration of m-a-d. mutually assured destruction. without nothing you have nothing to lose and i fear that unless a properly monitored cease fire happens then both sides will embrace that final solution.

    isreal must stop the overkill. that is just a fact that must be done. the inhumane blockade must be lifted and the palestinians left to decide who will be their government. if hamas is duly freely elected then it is not the business of the zionists or the usa to negate that electoral outcome. hamas will also have to accept that the firing of rockets into isreal must stop also.

    there cannot be any two-state solution any more, that is very plain to see. unless there is mutual agreement to return to the 1967 borders as pushed for by nelson mandela, among others. zionist representatives have stated that all of ancient palestine is theirs by the right of their god. that is not a legitimate claim unless one can prove the existence of that particular god and the concomitant gifting of that land. the lands have been used by both jews and muslims for millennia and both sects have a right to call it home. under present day circumstances the only real solution is a one state solution and, correctly, that is not a solution at all. either the idf take over the west bank entirely and push the resident palestinians into gaza or elsewhere or they do that and wipe out gaza as well. neither are acceptable except to isreal and the usa who still pour billions of dollars into the zionist coffers.

    such hatreds from both sides leave very little hope that a long lasting peace will be possible. but what must be possible, no, certain, is that the ethnocide of the palestinians in gaza must cease once and for all. i admit to not knowing the long-term solution but i do know that the zionist final solution is just not acceptable.

    attached is a letter signed by some federal and nsw politicians. it is telling that the greens, labor and independents members signed it but no coalition member did. ex-prime minister , however, did.


    ray jackson
    indigenous social justice association

    prix des droits de l’homme de la republique fraincaise 2013
    (french human rights medal 2013)

    61 2 9318 0947
    0450 651 063

    we live and work on the stolen lands of the gadigal people

  13. Solidarity for Gaza Protest in Brisbane says:

    Last week’s rally to demonstrate Brisbane’s solidarity towards the people of Gaza, ignited a spark of emotions, affirmations and a wave of protests which spread like wildfire all over the country.

    This week, the fire blazed high with simultaneous protests in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney.

    Today’s demonstrations started with a walking tour around Queens street, organized by Mr. Phil Monsour, a singer, songwriter and an advocate for Gaza, to identify and boycott the stores that stock Sodastream products.

    Sodastream, is an Israel based company which operates a major factory in an illegal settlement in occupied Palestine and manufactures environmentally sustainable alternatives to bottled soda drinks.

    Earlier this month, the factory came under public scrutiny for dismissing 60 Palestinian workers on July 2nd, following an argument about the supply of insufficient food for the breaking of the Ramadan fast, since the employees were not permitted to bring their own food to work.

    “ I have three words for the people gathered here today, boycott, divestment and sections,” Mr. Mansour said.

    “ Through this act of boycotting sodastream, we have three objectives we wish to achieve. End the international support for Israeli occupation and apartheid. Equal rights for all and the right for all the refugees to return back to their homeland,” he added.

    “ There is virtually no support from our parliament and the many organizations that are supposed to be beside us today. We need to shift the solidarity in this country into a political power. Therefore I call upon all the students, religious communities and trade unions to join hands and join us in this movement.”

    The boycott of Israeli goods is a part of an international movement known as the ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sections movement’, initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations, which gained momentum internationally with the bombardment of Gaza.

    Mrs. Isobella Jairus, a mother of two from the Gold Coast was not aware of the intensity of the Gaza crisis until the shelling of a UN-run school in Gaza three days back [23 July 2014].

    “I was devastated by the horrific atrocity committed by the Israeli army. Until then I was not sure which side I was on, but after those little children and women were murdered in the shelling, I did my own research and found out that this is an asymmetrical war. The Israeli army targeted a UN run school and that shocked me, because people are not safe even under the protection of the United Nations. I realized that this is not a religious war but a freedom struggle of an oppressed people fighting to reclaim their land,” Mrs. Jairus said.

    “I stand for a free Gaza,” she concluded.

    After the walking tour, more than a thousand people gathered at the King George Square to demonstrate their solidarity towards the people of Gaza.

    After acknowledging the elders of the land, Ms. Rebecca Barrigos quoted the words of Abu Yazan, a young political activist from Gaza, “ The Israeli cabinet is planning to meet up to negotiate ceasefire, but this time the victory is ours, take that fact and give up, Israel.”

    Mr. Sameer Ellagta, President of Palestinian Arts Culture & Sports Inc (PACSI), and a former resident of Gaza whose relatives were victims of the war, was the second speaker.

    “ I am from Palestine, my family is from Gaza. I called my sister two hours ago and she said that she and her family were safe, but she also said that they were afraid and they were just waiting. At this moment I don’t know if they are safe, that is the situation in Gaza,” Mr. Ellagta said.

    “ When I told her about our rally today, she said that she has a message for Brisbane. She said – I am a mother, I am a sister, I am a human being. I have every right to live like all of you in Australia, but I’m proud to remain in Palestine, I don’t want to leave Palestine because this is my home and I will hold onto it until I die,” he reiterated.

    “She thanks all of you gathered here today to show your support, but she also said – please don’t stop, please support us until the end.

    “ This is no longer a Palestinian issue, this is a human rights issue. We want to see non Palestinians from all over the world, people from different religions, color, culture and political alliance, we must all stand together in support for Palestine.

    “ To make your actions matter you can do one thing. Boycott Israel, don’t buy any product made in Israel, don’t buy any product with a barcode starting with 729.

    “They say that the Hamas is hiding behind the backs of the civilians to fight this war, yet after bombing hospitals, homes and schools repeatedly, the only dead bodies left behind are of women and little children. Please don’t fall for this deception anymore.”

    Speakers Mr. Boe Spearim and Mr. Calum Clayton-Dixon, representing the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy affirmed their support for the movement by sharing the fact that even though the Aboriginal community and the Palestinian community were two different civilizations with separate cultural values, they share the same struggle for freedom from oppression.

    “We say white Australia has a black history. Similarly Israel will always have a Palestinian history,” Mr. Spearim said.

    On behalf of the Queensland teacher’s union, Mr. Kevin Bates, the president, voiced his support for a free Gaza and an end to the oppression.

    On the other hand two other speakers, Mr. Jake Schoermer [Greens Candidate for Indooroopilly] representing the QLD Greens and Dr. Imran Ali from the QLD Shia Council, were shuffled off the stage after they offended the crowd during their speech.

    The microphone was snatched from Mr. Schoermer’s grasp while the crowd heckled him, and a protestor even pelted a shoe at the Greens spokesperson after he denounced Hamas for ‘war crimes’.

    After the commencement of the speeches, the protestors marched around Queens street chanting and demonstrating their solidarity for the people of Gaza.

    26 July 2014

  14. 'Australian Government response' says:

    In an interview on July 17th on 3AW after lengthy discussion of the
    Malaysian MH17 tragedy, Tony Abbott refused to be drawn on any comment about Gaza:

    Neil Mitchell: “But you just spoke about powerful countries bullying less powerful countries. Is that what’s happening with Israel and Hamas or does Australia support what Israel is doing?”

    PM Abbott: “Well, we certainly support Israel’s right to exist. We support Israel’s right to self-defence and we deplore the attacks on Israel from Gaza. Now I don’t have any further detail on what may or may not be happening at the moment. All I know is that Israel is regularly rocketed from Gaza. That shouldn’t happen and, look if…”

    Neil Mitchell: “Well the United States has said there shouldn’t be a ground invasion, If there is a ground invasion. Do we have a position on it?”

    Prime Minister: “Well, as you can imagine Neil, I’ve been rather preoccupied this morning with the matter involving at least 23 Australians who have died on an aircraft, which has been apparently shot down by Russian-supplied missiles. Now that, if you don’t mind me saying so is, I think, of higher priority than offering commentary on something that doesn’t directly involve

    But Australians are “involved” with Israel and the Palestinian territories… Tony Abbott: Israel right or wrong in Independent Australia http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/tony-abbott-israel-right-or-wrong,6722

  15. 'Egytian government response' says:

    from With Friends Like These: Palestine’s Other Enemies by Michael Brull
    … First, there is the case of Egypt. As is well known, in 2011, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in the wake of a popular uprising.

    After a brief experiment with democracy, there was a military coup in July 2013 against Egypt’s elected government.

    Whilst the new government could have effectively ended the Israeli siege on Gaza by opening its northern border at Rafah, it chose a different path.

    By September, Egypt’s systematic destruction of tunnels from Gaza had caused an estimated $250 million damage to the economy.

    By June 25 this year, the new military dictatorship of Egypt had destroyed 1736 tunnels from Gaza, preventing the export and import of goods – including health and medical supplies – from Gaza and leaving the Palestinians in an increasingly desperate state.

    During the Mubarak years, Egypt subsidized Israel with hundreds of millions of dollars every year in gas purchases – Ha’aretz reported that Israel received Egyptian gas at a 70 percent discount.

    This was, naturally, deeply unpopular in Egypt, and after the Egyptian uprising, the pipeline was repeatedly bombed until finally the government cancelled its contract with Israel.

    Once Egypt’s experiment in democracy ended, it was able to reach a new deal: in June this year, Egypt signed a $30 billion deal to buy gas from Israel.

    Unsurprisingly, Israel supported Mubarak in the face of the protests that ousted him.

    And when the time came for a military coup, demolishing Egyptian democracy, Israel lobbied Washington to continue its military aid to Egypt, recognising that it had gained a closer friend, even if it was at the cost of Egypt suffering through another military dictatorship.

    The Israeli attack on Gaza began on June 8. On June 11, an Israeli journalist in Ha’aretz noted the curious reality that “Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi has yet to denounce Israel’s assault on Gaza”.

    One Egyptian journalist complained that Sisi had not yet condemned the bombing. However, Barel noted that other Egyptian journalists were writing “venomous” attacks on Hamas, blaming it for Israel’s attack on Gaza.

    Al Monitor had a ready explanation for Sisi’s silence:

    Prior to Israel’s attack on Gaza at dawn on July 8, Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr channel reported that Maj. Gen. Mohammed Farid al-Tohamy, the director of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, had visited Tel Aviv hours before the attack and met with Israeli security officers. It also reported that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had given Israel initial approval to launch a military operation on Gaza to destroy Hamas.

    Despite full Egyptian complicity with the attack on Gaza, Hamas declined to criticise Egypt, though a spokesman noted pointedly: “It is surprising that the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip coincided with the closure of the Rafah crossing.”

    On July 10, Egypt opened the Rafah crossing to Gaza for a few hours to Palestinians and Egyptians who had suffered critical injuries.

    Eleven Palestinians were able to pass the crossing before it was closed: charity and medical workers were not able to enter Gaza to deliver aid.

    A Hamas spokesman complained that the closing “represents contempt and disregard for the suffering of travellers and the injured”.

    An Israeli journalist observed that “Egypt has not allowed for a commercial border crossing with the Gaza Strip, despite repeated pleas by Hamas to allow the free flow of commodities which would render smuggling tunnels superfluous.”

    Elhanan Miller wrote that whilst Sisi was “very delicate in his criticism of Hamas”, there was “unprecedented hostility” towards Hamas in the Egyptian media, including “blatant animosity toward all Palestinians…. Keen observers of Egyptian-Palestinian relations have a hard time remembering such high levels of vitriol spewed from both publicly and privately owned TV channels, representing the anti-Brotherhood sentiment currently prevalent in mainstream Egyptian media.”

    For example, one writer urged that Palestinians be expelled and their property confiscated.

  16. Syria Divides the Arab Left says:

    Last August the Lebanese leftwing nationalist daily, Al-Akhbar, went through its first crisis since its launch in the summer of 2006 (1). Managing editor Khaled Saghieh left the paper he had helped set up, because of its coverage of the Syrian crisis. Saghieh denounced the paper’s lack of support for the popular uprising that began in March 2011. Al-Akhbar has never denied its political sympathies with Hizbullah, one of Bashar al-Assad’s chief allies in the region, or hidden the fact that it prefers dialogue between the Damascus government and a section of the opposition to the fall of Assad’s regime. The paper has given a voice to certain members of the Syrian opposition, including Salameh Kaileh, a Syrian-Palestinian Marxist intellectual who was arrested this April by the security services. …
    In June an article by Amal Saad-Ghorayeb (2) provoked dissension within the paper’s English online version. The Lebanese commentator placed herself firmly behind the Damascus regime, and criticised supporters of a “third way” — those who denounce the regime while warning against western military intervention on the Libyan model. The same month another Al-Akhbar English journalist, Max Blumenthal, announced he was leaving in an article criticising “Assad apologists” within the editorial staff (3).

    Al-Akhbar’s crisis is symptomatic of the debate dividing the Arab left, ideologically and strategically. Some continue to support the Syrian regime in the name of the struggle against Israel and resistance to imperialism. Others stand staunchly with the opposition, in the name of revolution and the defence of democratic rights. Still others support a middle way between showing solidarity (from a distance) with the protestors’ demands for freedom, and rejecting foreign interference: they advocate some kind of national reconciliation. The Syrian crisis is making the Arab left — whether strictly Communist, tending towards Marxist, leftwing nationalist, radical or moderate — seem in disarray.

    There is little unequivocal support for the Assad clan, and few people are calling for the regime to carry on as it is; but unconditional supporters of the revolution do not seem to be in the majority either. Most of them are on the far left of the political spectrum, usually Trotskyist (the Socialist Forum in Lebanon, the Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt) or Maoist (the Democratic Way in Morocco). They have links with sections of the opposition, such as Ghayath Naisse’s Syrian Revolutionary Left. Since spring 2011 they have taken part in occasional demonstrations in front of Syrian embassies and consulates in their own countries. There are also some independent leftwing intellectuals who support insurrection, like the Lebanese historian Fawwaz Traboulsi (4). They demand the fall of the regime, and rule out dialogue. Even though they champion peaceful popular protest, they believe the rebels have the right to resort to force of arms. Far left supporters of revolution distance themselves from the Syrian National Council (SNC) (5), one of the main opposition coalitions, because they believe its links with countries such as Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia could compromise the independence of the popular movement.

    A Prudent Distance

    Part of the radical left, though denouncing the Assad regime and calling for its fall, is wary of the support the Gulf monarchies are giving to the Syrian revolutionaries; equally, it dares not subscribe fully to the anti-Assad discourse of the “international community”, especially the US. But this anti-imperialist reflex does not take precedence over support for revolution: what counts is the internal situation in Syria, and the principle of popular uprising, as it did in Tunisia and Egypt.

    But the majority of the Arab left are maintaining a prudent distance from the Syrian uprising. They condemn its militarisation, which they say only benefits radical Islamist groups and the foreign fighters flocking to Syria. They criticise the sectarianism of the conflict, pitting first Alawite then Christian minorities against a Sunni majority radicalised by repression, which they fear will lead to unending civil war. And they worry about the regional and international balance of power. With Iran and Syria set against the Gulf monarchies, and Russia and China against the US, Syria has been put on the front line of a great international war game. The left tends to favour Iran and Syria, and Russia and China, rather than those they oppose.

    A coalition of six leftist and nationalist parties, including Communists and Arab nationalists, met in Amman on 4 April to mark the ninth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. But it was the crisis in Syria, not the fall of Saddam Hussein that dominated discussions. Speakers strongly denounced “foreign intervention” in Syria, and some drew a parallel between the 2003 operation against Iraq and the support of the main western powers for the SNC and the armed opposition in Syria.

    The powerful Tunisian General Workers Union (UGTT, some of whose executive members are from the far left) issued a communiqué on 17 May reiterating its support for the democratic demands of the Syrian people, but warning against a “plot” by “colonial and reactionary Arab” states. Two months earlier the Tunisian Communist Workers Party (POCT) and Arab nationalist groups had called a demonstration to protest against the “Friends of Syria” (an organisation that brings together almost 60 international representatives and the SNC) when it held a conference in Tunis.

    The Lebanese Communist Party has taken a particularly cautious stance. Although it has published articles in its newspapers by Syrian opposition leaders such as Michel Kilo, who does not belong to the SNC, it has stayed away from the demonstrations that have been taking place over the last year in front of the Syrian embassy in Beirut. What’s more, the party has come under fire from Lebanon’s far left because part of its leadership remains close to Qadri Jamil’s People’s Will Party. Jamil is a member of Syria’s “official” opposition, and in June Assad appointed him deputy prime minister for the economy in Riad Hijab’s government.

    Another part of the Arab left calls for a gradual, reformist approach to the Syrian conflict, arguing the solution must be political not military. This position was reflected in the final communiqué from the Arab Nationalist Congress, which brought together around 200 delegates from Arab nationalist and leftist groups, and some Islamists, in Hammamet, Tunisia, in June (6). The document tried to be as consensual as possible. While recognising the Syrian people’s right to “freedom, democracy and the peaceful alternation of power between parties”, it condemned violence from all quarters, criticising both the regime and the armed opposition and calling on them to engage in dialogue based on Kofi Annan’s March 2012 peace plan.

    Two Faces

    While part of the radical Arab left still believes revolution is on the cards, a much larger proportion has given up on it, since it does not in fact want to see a violent collapse of the regime. The contradiction lies in an unspoken cold war. They fear a power vacuum and a post-Assad Syria reconciled with the US and allied to the Gulf states more than they fear the continuation of the current regime.

    Leftwing Arab activists see Syria like Janus, with two faces. Few deny its authoritarian and repressive nature, but even today the regime’s defensive arguments, combined with the international sanctions against it, resonate with the Arab left’s deeply held anti-imperialist and third worldist convictions. In some these feelings are tempered by an attachment to the popular nature of the revolt; in others they are amplified by the conflict’s growing internationalisation.

    The Arab Spring gave a boost to Islamists, leading to parties with their origins in the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. No doubt this has caused some on the left to move the other way, fearing Arab revolutions because they could lead to Islamist hegemony. The Ennahda Movement in Tunisia, like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Jordan, appear as ardent supporters of the Syrian opposition. So the position that much of the Arab left takes on Syria reflects its own clash with political Islam. That is why parties that normally claim to be “revolutionary” and “progressive”, even if they are not necessarily Marxist, are, paradoxically, hoping for a negotiated solution and gradual transition in Syria, for fear of disillusionment in the future.

    by Nicolas Dot-Pouillard who is a researcher at the French Institute for the Near East in Beirut

    (1) Al-Akhbar published the Arabic edition of Le Monde diplomatique as a supplement for one year.

    (2) “Syrian Crisis: Three’s a Crowd”, Al-Akhbar English, 12 June 2012.

    (3) Max Blumenthal, “The right to resist is universal: a farewell to Al-Akhbar and Assad’s apologists”, Al-Akhbar English, 20 June 2012.

    (4) Fawwaz Traboulis teaches history at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, and is a former leading member of the Communist Action Organisation in Lebanon (OACL).

    (5) The Syrian National Council was set up in summer 2011 and is based in Istanbul. It brings together a large part of the Syrian opposition, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

    (6) The Arab Nationalist Congress includes Baathist and Nasserist groupings, plus leftwing parties such as Morocco’s Unified Socialist Party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Yemeni Socialist Party.

    First published by one of CESRAN’s content sharing partners, Le Monde Diplomatique.

    1. 'Be careful what you wish for ...' says:
      I loved you, so I drew these tides of men 
      into my hands
         and wrote my will across the sky in stars
      To earn you Freedom, the seven-pillared worthy 
         that your eyes might be shining for me
                                      When we came.
                        -- T E Lawrence from 
                           "The Seven Pillars of Wisdon"


      The article ‘Syria divides the Arab Left‘ could merely be titled ‘Syria divides the Left‘.

      The formation of the Syrian National Council (SNC) The ‘Arab spring’ reminds me of the treachery that befell the Arab world after World War I. The ‘Middle East’ then comprised of Mesopotamia (Syria and Iraq) and of the Levant (Transjordan and Palestine). After the war France and Britain signed the secret Sykes-Picot agreement to carve up the ‘middle east’ and to deny Arab independence.

      ‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom’

      When my father, Joe, was born in March 1917 there were no such countries as Syria, Lebanon, or Iraq – at least not as we know them now in the 21st century.

      When my grandfather travelled to the region prior to my fathers birth there was Damascus and Constantinople and Cairo. My grandfather, Fred, knew of Egypt, of Mesopotamia, of the Levant, and travelled through Palestine (see map below).

      The Balfour declaration (giving British approval for Zionists to colonise Palestine) was yet to be signed when my father was born.

      Israel of course did not exist till many years later. My father had to wait till after he was married for the United Nations to declare Israel into existence.

      However i will quote this from T E Lawrence (with apologies to Edward Said):

      “Egyptians, being home-loving persons and comfortable, found strangeness always a misery. In this bad instance (war against the Turks to help the Arab rebellion) they suffered hardship for a philanthropic end, which made it harder. They were fighting the Turks, for whom they had a sentimental regard, on behalf of the Arabs, an alien people speaking a language kindred to their own, but appearing therefore all the more unlike in character, and crude in life. The Arabs seemed hostile to the material blessings of civilization rather than appreciative of them. They met with a ribald hoot well-meaning attempts to furnish their bareness.”

      At that time (during WW I) it seems that rampant nationalism was known to the British, and yes the Zionists from Europe knew all about it, and even the Turks … but nationalism remained unknown in Arab world … in a way, the Arabs themselves were indeed pre-modern, even in the midst of a modern war in 1917.

      Ironically, T E Lawrence had conceived his own idea of Arab nationalism by helping to install King Faisal in Damascus (at the time Lawrence was both adviser to Faisal & in the employ of British intelligence):

      “In newly liberated Damascus—which he (Lawrence) had envisaged as the capital of an Arab state—Lawrence was instrumental in establishing a provisional Arab government under Faisal. Faisal’s rule as king, however, came to an abrupt end in 1920, after the battle of Maysaloun, when the French Forces of General Gouraud, under the command of General Mariano Goybet, entered Damascus, destroying Lawrence’s dream of an independent Arabia.” – Greater Syria

      With the end of Ottoman rule in October 1918, Faisal helped set up an Arab government, under British protection, in Arab controlled Greater Syria. In May 1919, elections were held for the Syrian National Congress, which met the following year …


      Syrian people’s right to “freedom, democracy and the peaceful alternation of power between parties … Attempts by ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ to decolonise Arabia from the top-down by installing Arab ‘kings’ was naive and wrong.

      My two cents worth is that true independence needs to come from the bottom-up through resistance and liberation struggles and through unity and worker solidarity. This is a secular struggle by people of all backgrounds not of religious or sectarian groups.

      Ian Curr
      August 2014


      Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence published by Project Gutenburg.

      Note: Edwaid Said was the author of Orientalism

  17. BDS and Rally says:

    Photos from today’s BDS actions in Brisbane’s CBD…

    Israel killed nearly 2,000 Palestinians in its recent assault on Gaza. In addition, it wounded 10,000 and forced 400,000 from their homes. Supporters of Palestine in Brisbane need to stand up against Israeli war crimes. This was not a “conflict” nor a “war” but a cold-blooded massacre of an almost defenceless people. The massacre has ceased for the time being but the siege remains. Join us on Friday night 15 August as we demand an end to this barbarism and to our government’s support for it.

    We have had record crowds come out to demonstrate since the onset of Israeli bombing in early July. We have broken through the media silence and let tens of thousands of people around the country know about Israeli crimes. More than 60 politicians have expressed their opposition to Israel’s attack on Gaza, along with trade unions and student unions.

    Let’s keep up the momentum. Tell your friends, invite them on Facebook and please share this event page on your own wall. We are part of a worldwide movement to isolate Israel and expose it as the terrorist state that it is.

    “Israel, USA, how many kids did you kill today?!”
    “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”

    Venue: Brisbane Square, top of the Queen Street Mall, between George Street and North Quay.

    Media contacts:
    Rebecca Barrigos, Socialist Alternative: 0401 785942
    Ali Kadri, Holland Park Islamic Society: 0430 029718

  18. BFU presents: Gaza in Context says:

    Brisbane Free University (BFU) invites you to our upcoming session, which focuses on Gaza in the context of Israeli-Palestinian relations, and international human rights legislation. The session features two excellent speakers (see details below), plus ample time for open discussion, questions and answers.

    Halim Rane is Associate Professor of Islam-West Relations in the School of Humanities at Griffith University, Queensland. He formerly worked for the Australian Government Department of Immigration. Rane’s research is interdisciplinary, encompassing media studies, sociology and international relations. He is the author of numerous articles and books on Islamic and Muslim issues including: Media Framing of the Muslim World: Conflicts, Crises and Contexts, and Making Australia Foreign Policy on Israel-Palestine: Media Coverage, Public Opinion and Interest Groups.

    Dr Natalia Szablewska is a Lecturer at Southern Cross University School of Law and Justice. She specialises in international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights, and her current research is in transitional justice and different modes of empowerment. She will present an overview of IHL and its applicability to conflicts between Israel and Palestine.

    Thursday, September 4 at 6:30pm – 8:30pm
    Carpark under the Westpac Bank, 89-91 Boundary St, West End

  19. After the Gaza Massacre and After the Marches, What Do We Do? says:

    The ceasefire between Hamas and Israel looks like holding up. It is a cause for celebration that the mass killing has stopped; the destruction of entire neighbourhoods is over for the moment in Gaza. It is hard to celebrate though when the siege still goes on, the occupation of Palestine with all its associated violence continues apace, and those who perpetrated the Gaza massacre have not been brought to justice. In the current bleak post-massacre crisis which Gaza faces, the work of solidarity organisations are needed now more than ever. The question is what form this solidarity will take.

    On Saturday August 9th, between eight and ten thousand of us marched the all too familiar two miles to the Israeli embassy. It was the largest demonstration of Palestine solidarity on this island – a truly national demo with banners, placards and people from all the 32 counties, it was a joy to know so many other people cared and to be marching alongside these people. And now we know this, that so many people in this country are willing to make the effort and stand and march in solidarity with Palestine, what do we do next?

    The simple answer I want to give is that we don’t go back to the embassy, instead we engage in boycott actions around the country, bringing the energy from the demonstrations back home and making it meaningful.

    Why not march again? Marches mobilise us and they energise us – but if all they mobilise us to do is simply to mobilise yet again, then we are making the march about ourselves and how good we feel chanting pro-Palestine slogans and being in solidarity with each other. That’s not good enough.

    Admittedly, the marches did much more. The mobilisations and the associated press work forced the mainstream media to take Palestine solidarity seriously (for instance, this unusually positive Irish Times report). The media would like nothing better than to ignore or sneer at these people upsetting the status quo, upsetting our trade partners and our government’s compliant attitude towards the EU and US. But after five weeks where thousands of ordinary people marched for Palestine, they couldn’t do this anymore and they have been forced to acknowledge the depth of solidarity that people in Ireland feel with Palestinians.

    This is an important victory and during the massacre it was absolutely necessary to march and demand an end to the killing. However this does not mean that we should be trapped into a continuing cycle of marches to the embassy – each march bringing diminishing numbers and diminishing returns.

    This is not to counsel staying at home. People around the country – the 500 who marched in Limerick, the thousand in Cork, the 150 in Maynooth and so on – they want to do something. We need to undertake activities which will be effective, sensible and – if they’re done right – empowering for those taking part in them. We need to turn to boycott actions. Not boycott alone – it is also important to press for Israel to be made accountable for its war crimes, it is necessary to pressure our government to stop trading arms with Israel, and it is vital to foster links with Palestinians and with Gaza – something Gaza Action Ireland especially have been doing The boycott strategy does not preclude other tools for solidarity

    The advantage of boycott is manifold though. It is a way of mobilising the public to meaningful action, a means of changing the media narrative from the current cycle of whataboutery into discussing the best way of showing solidarity with Palestine. Boycott compels our government and businesses to take notice of public opinion since it affects them. Lastly, boycott directly affects Israel in a way that petitions or marches in Irish streets don’t. Small wonder that all Palestinian groups have asked solidarity groups to focus on the boycott of Israeli goods. It should be stressed that it is Israeli goods that need to be boycotted, not Irish supermarkets or multinationals – calling for the ruthless boycott of everything existing may be emotionally satisfying, but it is neither a sensible nor effective strategy.

    The question is how do we do boycott actions so that we aren’t asking for supporters to do impossible things, and so that the spirit of mobilisation of the demonstrations gets carried forward? There is no perfect answer to the question, but we do know the type of actions that have been tried and have worked over the last month.

    Boycott mobilisations: The last few Thursdays, people have gathered to undertake collective boycott actions – going into supermarkets and chain stores and de-shelving Israeli goods, going into shopping centres and picketing Ahava stalls selling Dead Sea products. Such actions have been civil and polite – we have to remember that neither shop-workers nor security guards are the enemy here – but disruptive.

    The advantage of these actions is that they are collective, they put real pressure on supermarkets to take Israeli stock off their shelves, and through being shared on social media they inspire others to do similar actions. Other disruptive actions include placing boycott Israel stickers on Israeli produce – a simple effective way to promote the boycott

    Building local boycott campaigns. Kinvara, Co, Galway has declared itself to be an Israeli-goods free zone. This inspired locals in Stoneybatter, Dublin to leaflet their area and ask people to ask their local shops to boycott Israel. They have also gone around the local shops and so far half a dozen have agreed to boycott Israel, and put up ‘apartheid-free zone’ stickers. The local boycott campaign is ongoing.

    This grassroots campaign is non-confrontational; rather it builds on the widespread popular revulsion with Israeli actions and on local ties. Such campaigns can be conducted in any community in Dublin, any town in Ireland, and it ensures, as Eamonn McCann said at the Dublin demonstration, that boycott becomes not “the badge of radical respectability [but] the common sense of Irish politics.”

    Professional and workplace campaigns. Over the last month The Artists’ Pledge to Boycott Israel has accumulated hundreds of fresh signatures – there are now over 460 artists who have pledged to boycott Israel. The power of this campaign cannot be underestimated in making it political commonsense to boycott Israel. Now whenever an artist goes to Israel or accept Israeli state funding they are making an explicit political statement on behalf of Israel.

    The academic campaign has been slower – there are now about 180 signatories to the academic boycott pledge, with several dozen being added in the last month. However, the group Academics for Palestine plan to collect more. They are running a half day workshop on academic boycott on Saturday 13 September to discuss the academic boycott and how to advance it.

    Besides the simple straightforward boycott actions above, we need more of these long-term campaigns in workplaces and among professions – doctors, architects, union members can all start organising in their own workplaces, among their own colleagues. The returns will not be as immediate as the above two ways, but can deepen the boycott campaign in this country beyond straightforward consumer goods.

    During the massacre, Irish people demonstrated their solidarity with Palestine – now we need to practice this solidarity in a meaningful way. The boycott of Israeli goods is just that – what Palestinians demand and what the Israeli government fears.

    David Landy is on the IPSC national committee, though the views expressed in this article are his own. You can contact him at dlandy@tcd.ie or the IPSC at info@ipsc.ie about any of the above initiatives.

    – See more at: http://www.irishleftreview.org/2014/08/28/gaza-massacre-marches/#sthash.ML2L35dm.dpufSee more at: http://www.irishleftreview.org/2014/08/28/gaza-massacre-marches/#sthash.ML2L35dm.dpuf

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