THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY is a compelling factual history of neoconservatism and its influence on US Foreign Policy in the Middle East during the first decade of the twenty-first century. Click on image above for details.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


The news that Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Persian Gulf near the Iranian coast should come as no surprise to Middle Eastern affairs watchers.

Over the last few years the threat of war between Israel and Iran has never been far away from being of major concern to the world. When Democrat Obama won the 2008 Presidential election against the war-like Republican John McCain, the immediate threat of war receded though never entirely went away. However, of late, the rhetoric against Iran from both Israel and the US has again grown more intense. Israel’s stance has not changed; it would like to see immediate ‘regime change’ in Iran, preferably by the US bombing Iran into capitulation, but has refused to take the option off the table of itself striking Iran unilaterally if necessary.

Part of the West’s rhetoric against Iran is the accusation that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. Despite the fact that no actual evidence exists that supports this claim, the rhetoric, nonetheless, has persisted in the hope that the people of the West will hear the claim so often and persistently that they will come to believe it even without any actual hard evidence. In this way, the West hopes that public opinion will support an attack on Iran even without any evidence of Iran having a nuclear weapons program.

Unfortunately for the warhawks in the US and Israel, Bush’s wars during much of the first decade of the twenty-first century, the fact that those wars continue still, and the lies that were used to start them, have left the American people wary of going to war yet again. For this reason Obama has trodden a careful path with his relations with Iran while Israel has remained far more belligerent. Obama has had no choice but to go down a diplomatic path to ‘disarm’ Iran while keeping the military option, as Israel has, on the table just as Bush did.

This has meant that Israel has had to wait while the US goes through the whole rigmarole of pushing for sanctions through the UN, waiting for Iran to ignore the sanctions, then applying for even more tougher sanctions, and then waiting to see what outcome there will be from that before they can take any military action to ‘disarm’ Iran. This process has frustrated the Israelis who are anxious to finalise their plans for a Greater Israel before the final opportunity to do so is lost with an enforced agreement with Palestinians to create their own state.

This has left Israel with no other alternative but to unilaterally strike Iran themselves. The problem, however, is that they the Israelis could not possibly launch a ‘unilateral’ strike against Iran by air assault from Israel without considerable collusion and assistance, covertly or otherwise, from the US; the logistics of fuel acquisition, ordnance, intelligence, etc., simply do not allow it.

The only chance the Israelis have of beginning their final confrontation with Iran without it looking as though the US is part of the attack is to attack Iran unilaterally from the sea.

Hence the submarines.

But let’s not be fooled by this ruse. If Israel did attack Iran using its cruise missiles, nuclear or otherwise, they would still need to have the US backing them. Whilst ostensibly it may look as though the Israelis have attacked unilaterally, the Israelis will require immediate assistance from the US in helping prevent Iranian retaliation which means massive preparation and, therefore, prior knowledge on Obama’s part. The Israelis and the US may be able to fool some of the world into thinking that an attack against Iran had nothing to do with the US but the reality is that the US will be as much involved with any attack against Iran as Israel would be.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Israeli Home Front Commander, Major-General Yair Golan has announced that in the event of war when chemical weapons may be used, Israel will send Israelis of potential chemical weapon target zones to the West Bank.

Israeli ultra Zionist news source, Arutz Sheva, reported that “Samaria is heavily dotted with Arab villages and cities and that a chemical attack on Samaria would necessarily hurt the Arabs too – a presumably unwanted outcome for Muslim aggressors”.

Israel has become well known for using human shields in war. The Israeli citizens of Ashkelon and Sderot have never been evacuated from the townships when Palestinian fighters in the Gaza have launched their crude rockets at them. This is despite knowing full well after years of experience that when Israel attacks the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians there are likely to retaliate with rocket strikes against Ashkelon and Sderot. This has provided the Israelis with an excuse to accuse the Palestinian fighters of deliberately attacking civilians which, in turn, has provided the Israelis with justifying their attacks against civilians in the Gaza.

During ground incursions into the Gaza Strip and elsewhere in the Occupied Territories Israeli soldiers have gained a notable reputation of using civilian individuals as human shields when attacking people’s homes and public buildings.

Using human shields is a war crime.

Where’s the outrage at this latest proposal to commit war crimes.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Yesterday (Saturday) Janine Zacharia, writing in the Washington Post, said:

Israeli officials and commentators say that nothing short of sanctions on Iran's energy sector will work. And with no sign of that in the offing, the prospect of Israeli military action – which Israeli officials have always said remains an option if sanctions fail – looms larger.

However, a unilateral Israeli military strike against Iran is not an option. It should be made perfectly clear that it is simply impossible for Israel to act ‘unilaterally’ against Iran. Any attack on Iran by Israel cannot be achieved without the complete support of the US.

Israel will require substantial amounts of military jet fuel which is supplied by the US. Israel will also require intelligence back-up support which can only be supplied by the US. Israel will require massive post-first strike support to prevent Iranian retaliatory strikes against Israel. Not only will retaliatory strikes by Iran be anticipated, but Iran’s proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas, will also need to have their retaliatory strike capability contained which, in turn requires even more jet fuel together with diesel fuel for ground forces. They also require a huge stockpile of ordnance for such a confrontation.

Today sees the start of a huge Israeli exercise that simulates a multi-pronged attack by Israel’s enemies. This has involved massing Israeli troops to the north of the country close to the border with Lebanon. In the last few weeks Israel has increased the number of provocative overflights of Lebanon and the talk generally has been of looming war.

Despite Iran’s recent deal with Turkey to swap uranium, the US has decided to go ahead with sanctions via the UN and is also seeking much tougher sanctions outside of the UN unilaterally and via the European Union. These moves are likely to upset the Russians and the Chinese who may now consider withdrawing their support for the UN sanctions resolution.

All of this, one may recall, is supposed to be based on the vague evidentially unsupported notion that the West and Israel suspects that Iran may have a nuclear weapons program and that it may use such a weapon on Israel despite the fact that, if it did, it would probably be the end of Iran.

Let’s get real here.

All this has nothing to do with any so-called ‘nuclear weapons program’; it has everything to do with ‘regime change’. And such regime change has nothing to do with stopping Iran’s ‘nuclear weapons program’ but rather stopping Iranian support of Hezbollah and Hamas and the Palestinian cause. Without Iranian support, Hezbollah and Hamas resolve to resist Israeli oppression, persecution and expansionist ambitions will be severely weakened. This is the ultimate goal of the Israeli Zionists and their neoconservative supporters in the US.

While Obama talks peace to placate a moody US public opinion, he has made it abundantly clear where his real loyalties lie as more money is handed over to the Israelis in order to purchase even more weapons as his Secretary of State makes increasingly louder noises about Iran and its ‘nuclear weapons program’.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Here we were on Monday thinking the Iranian deal with Turkey, whereby Iran would get to do an exchange by sending some 1200 kgs of LEU to Turkey in exchange for 120 kgs of MEU, would ease the stand-off between the West and Iran. It seemed that the deal would put an end to the pursuit of further sanctions on Iran by the US if, for no other reason, China and Russia, in light of the new deal Iran has with Turkey, would very likely not support further sanctions against Iran.

Then, the very next day, news comes in that, not only has the US decided to push ahead with a resolution to impose further sanctions, regardless of the deal between Iran and Turkey, but that Russia and China have tentatively agreed to support such a resolution.

One can be forgiven for asking ‘What’s going on?’ given that both Russia and China were previously reluctant to be behind any further sanction even without any deals having been made to swap uranium.

Max Fisher, writing online at The Atlantic magazine, attempts a reasonable analysis. Fisher argues, in essence, that both Russia and China are simply shifting toward a more pragmatic stance that reflects their own wider interests in regards to their respective relations with Europe and the West respectively.

This may be so, but one wonders if, had Iran and Turkey announced their deal even a day earlier, Russia and China would still have agreed publicly to support this new resolution.

The fact is the sanctions are not really all that tough. They are certainly not likely to deter Iran from working to achieve their goal of producing electrical power from nuclear energy. Li Baodong, China’s Ambassador to the UN, has said that they only support sanctions that are likely “to bring the Iranian side to the negotiating table”, adding that, "The sanctions are not for punishing innocent people and should not harm normal trade and business exchanges."

Because of the mild nature of the new proposed sanctions, there have been reports that the US and the EU may also be initiating certain unilateral sanctions outside of the UN sanctions tentatively agreed to. Already Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has expressed concern at these reports. Lavrov was quoted in Ria Novosti, the Russian online news magazine, as saying that the unilateral sanctions would include measures "of an extraterritorial nature, beyond the agreed decisions of the international community and contradicting the principle of the rule of the international law, enshrined in the UN Charter." The key word of concern here is ‘extraterritorial’.

The implications of this are very serious. They may even have a bearing on whether or not Russia actually signs up to the UN resolution when it comes to the vote next month. China too may think twice about their position if the US and their Western allies decide on unilateral sanctions that go beyond those already agreed to within the UN and which ‘contradict the principle of the rule of international law’.

It remains to be seen whether or not the two deals were ‘crossed in the post’, but it certainly seems that, one, the sanctions recommended were ‘soft’ enough for both Russia and China to sign up to; and, two, it also seems that, if that is the case and the US and their Western allies want to fool around with tougher unilateral sanctions, then Russia and China might just back off the UN negotiated sanctions. Given that it seems as if the Turkey-Iran deal is almost fait accompli, the end result will be at the very least embarrassing for the US and the West, and, at worst, bring on a dangerous situation in the Middle East where the US and Israel may feel compelled to take matters into their own hands.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Yesterday the Iranians surprised the world with their brokered decision to allow 1200 kgs of their Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) to be sent to Turkey in exchange for 120 kgs of Medium Enriched Uranium (MEU) that can be used to manufacture isotopes for medical purposes.

The move has taken the wind out of the sails of both the US and Israel who were hoping to move on to the stepping-stone of sanctions which they then hoped would lead ultimately toward a regime-changing attack on Iran.

For both the US and, to a much greater extent, Israel, the Iran ‘problem’ has never been about Iran’s ‘nuclear weapons program’ – Israel, the US and their Western allies are very much aware that Iran doesn’t actually have one – but, rather, it has always been about Iran’s ability to support Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, the three entities that stand in the way of Israel’s long term goal of creating a Greater Israel that includes retaining the Golan Heights and gaining the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and south Lebanon up to the Litani River.

The West’s rhetoric about Iran’s so-called ‘nuclear weapons program’ has been aimed exclusively at shifting public opinion via a fearmongering propaganda campaign to ultimately supporting a Western strike against Iran with a view to regime change. The West has been unable to provide any actual hard evidence to support their claims about Iran’s ‘nuclear weapons program’. Even the IAEA, who are usually warily ambiguous with their pronouncements on the matter, have said that they have found no actual evidence of Iran producing, or attempting or even to produce, the Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) needed to produce a nuclear bomb.

So, where do these new circumstances leave Israel and the US?

Well, the goals, of course, have not changed; both want regime change in Iran. The question now is: How can it be achieved?

The ideal for the US and Israel would have been for the Iranian people to have brought about regime change themselves. However, the opportunity for that to happen has long since passed with the failure of the so-called Iranian opposition at the elections of June 2009 and the subsequent protests, stirred on by CIA and Mossad agents provocateurs, over alleged election fraud.

With that opportunity lost, it was back to Plan A whereby the US, Israel and their Western allies would seek to impose tighter sanctions on Iran knowing that such sanctions would likely be ignored which, in turn, would ultimately provide a casus belli to attack Iran ostensibly to stop its so-called nuclear weapons program but in reality to destroy Iran’s defenses and government institutions forcing the Iranians to capitulate and seek an armistice from the UN which the US would ensure be conditional on regime change to a government friendly to the West, the US and Israel. Clearly, with the new situation, however, the US is very unlikely now to convince the UN Security Council that tighter sanctions are necessary since China and Russia will very likely block any attempt to bring on such a resolution.

So now the US, Israel and their allies will have to think about a Plan C if they still want to pursue regime change.

For the Israelis and their neoconservative supporters in the US and, indeed, around the world, regime change is absolutely essential if they want to achieve their ultimate aim of creating a Greater Israel.

Direct confrontation with Iran after showing that sanctions weren’t working was only one of several options of achieving regime change as was the possibility of regime change from within. Both of these options are now off the table.

There are other options, however. One of these is for Israel to simply attack Iran ‘unilaterally’. Of course, such a strike would be anything but ‘unilateral’ since Israel could not possibly strike Iran without the US being complicit in such a strike. The ordnance and fuel for such a strike would have to come from the US and the ordnance and fuel required to fight the resulting war with Hezbollah and Hamas would also need to come from the US. Once Israel has made the first strike against Iran, the US would then be compelled, albeit with a massive show of faux reluctance, to support Israel by launching attacks against Iran designed to prevent Iran launching any retaliatory strike against Israel.

While the US is then dealing with finishing off Iran, the Israelis would then be free to massively attack both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip followed up by invasion and occupation, all while the worlds eyes are on the ‘main event’ which is the US bringing Iran to its knees.

Another option would be for the Israelis to somehow provoke, possibly by some false flag event, war with Hezbollah and/or Hamas which they would then quickly escalate. Then, the moment either Hezbollah or Hamas fire any rocket at Israel that was not previously in their arsenal, Israel and the US would have casus belli to attack Iran.

Whatever option the Israelis and the US choose, the world is now in a very dangerous place.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


A regular reader and fellow traveller, Michael Mazur, wrote a response to my previous article which I was unable to put up in the comments to posts due to me in advertantly losing his comment. However, it’s interesting enough to put up as a post in it’s own right. This is what Michael wrote:

Damian, there was no bombing attempt at all. What the NYPD found in the Nissan SUV in the first instance was burnt out fireworks expressly designed to make smoke, a propane canister, a can of petrol, and fertilizer which - laughably - could not be used for explosive purposes !

So much for explosives training by the Pakistani Taliban of Faisal Shahzad.

Given that the smoke making fireworks item would have had a yellow/orange glowing point of origin there is no question that the can of petrol and the propane canister would have had their outlet points tightly screwed down lest otherwise the petrol/propane/air mix in that enclosed space of the SUV could have potentially been set off by that glowing point resulting in a tremendous explosive fireball violently bursting open the SUV with deaths and injuries to passersby.

That outcome the intel feared more than anything, feared so much that instead of having a regular packet of ammonium nitrate they had a fertilizer which had no pyrotechnic properties whatsoever. I mean to say that what they likely feared was that if they had ammonium nitrate there it might have been possible accidentally for the petrol to have spilled on to it, resulting in a potent mix for the firework to ignite.

They were actually being overcautious, which overcaution inadvertantly revealed the perps as being themselves !

Now why would intel care if passersby got killed ? Nine years ago they obviously wouldn't, as they stood by and watched Mossad set up the Twin Towers with nano thermite explosives, but now they know all this sh!t is coming out via the people's net, and there's gonna be serious people's courts nailing these govt funded criminals who either `aided and abetted` the murder of US citizens, or committed these murders themselves, and they don't want to be in the latter category.

That is why this Times Square car bombing non attempt was so designed as to make that impossible.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Much Western media attention has been devoted to the Saturday, 1 May, failed bombing attempt in New York’s Times Square.

As I wrote recently, had the bomb been set up by some ‘white Christian American-born American the story by now would be just a sheet of newspaper blowing around in the wind up the side streets of New York’. But because it was apparently set up by a Muslim Pakistani-American, the story has been used by the American anti-Islam propaganda machine to point the finger of blame to the Pakistan Taliban.

At first the US administration didn’t quite grasp the significant propaganda opportunity presented to them. At the time of the bomb scare the US top brass, including General David Petraeus, and the media was touting the Pakistani-American suspect as a wannabe terrorist and ‘lone wolf’ operator. It was also reported that the Pakistan Taliban has specifically denied any part in the failed bombing attempt.

Today, however, the US is pushing the line that the attempted bombing was a concerted and highly organised effort by the Pakistan Taliban to attack America. And, just to top it off, Bill Roggio, a neocon writer at the Weekly Standard is claiming that the Pakistan Taliban personally emailed him to tell him that they were responsible for the training of the suspect and setting up of the bombing attempt. Roggio makes no attempt whatsoever to explain why on earth the Pakistan Taliban, after having denied all knowledge of the bombing, would want to email, of all people, a nondescript neoconservative writer at the Weekly Standard to tell him that they were responsible.

The Murdoch press is also doing its bit to propagate the myth of a Pakistan Taliban connection to the bombing attempt by using the story to spin the notion of the Pakistan Taliban being an entity in its own right distinct from the Afghanistan Taliban. Sally Neighbour of Murdoch’s The Australian newspaper, Australia’s only nation-wide newspaper, tells readers:

While policy-makers in the US and Australia have adopted the buzzword "Af-Pak" to conflate the conflicts ravaging those countries, it is clear the insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while inextricably bound together, must be treated as distinct.

This is something the US and Australia have been trying to do for at least 18 months now. It was then that an Australian First Assistant Secretary for International Policy told me that ‘Pakistan is going to become a big problem that the allies will need to deal with sometime’. All they need is an excuse to widen their war to include Pakistan. The bombing attempt in Times Square clearly is now being used as that excuse.

For Western governments it’s very easy to say, ‘intelligence agencies now have firm evidence…’ but then tells us that, for security reasons, they can’t actually show us the evidence; we’re simply expected to just take their word for it. And, of course, most people will go along with what the government tells them.

The US is paranoid that the Pakistan government will topple, together with its arsenal of nuclear weapons, into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists with close ties to the Taliban. The problem is American public opinion does not support any further American adventurism and, indeed, has lost interest in the war in Central Asia. As a result of this disinterest the administration is desperately trying to spin everything it can in order to renew public support for continued war in Afghanistan and expanded war in Pakistan. Hillary Clinton has even tried to say that Pakistani officials know where Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan Taliban leader Mullah Omar is.

For the Americans, securing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons arsenal is essential. However, they need to tread very carefully. The Taliban, especially in the north, enjoy the support generally of the Pakistan people; particularly when it comes to fighting Americans. US drone strikes against Pakistanis that have killed civilians have served only to alienate the Pakistani people further and has put pressure on the Pakistan government. American money and support for the Pakistan government is now really all that is keeping the government in power and on side with the US.

The US is anxious to get more boots on the ground in Pakistan though clearly Pakistan is not a country that could be invaded (even if the US had the capacity or the inclination to do so). The alternative is to get the Pakistan government to invite much larger numbers of ‘trainers’ and ‘advisors’ into the country. Already there are large numbers of private contractors there who are supposed to be there to protect those few advisors that are already there and other US diplomats and officials that are based in Pakistan.

Some of these private contractors it has been alleged have been used on ‘false flag’ missions inside Pakistan using car bombs in markets and other crowded public places to kill Pakistani civilians in order to alienate them from the Taliban. The Taliban have denied that they have deliberately set out to kill civilians though they have admitted to attacking police and military posts.

The US need to consolidate their position in Pakistan in order to ensure that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal remains secure and that a US-friendly government remains in power.

An opportunity that arises that may advance opportunities for the US administration to move forward with these aims and gain support from a disinterested and war-weary American public will be eagerly seized upon – and a Pakistan Taliban-inspired bomb in Times Square is just the sort of event that the administration could hope for to advance their plans.

Thursday, May 06, 2010



I suppose for the Americans and their allies in the West the story of the Propane Bomb that Fizzled in New York is really big and important headline news that deserves massive air time in the Western TV, print and online media while stories like the mass killing of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan by bombs launched from drones get virtually no attention at all in the same Western media.

There is only one reason for the disparity – its called propaganda.

In this case, the propaganda machinery of the West has found the perfect patsy with which to perpetuate the myth of a Global War on Terrorism.

Yet another American, disgruntled about being foreclosed on by a bank that had been the recipient of billions of dollars of bailout money, felt compelled to display his frustration by undertaking an extreme act if violence. Fortunately, he failed. Now, if he’d been a white Christian American-born American the story by now would be just a sheet of newspaper blowing around in the wind up the side streets of New York. But he wasn’t. It turns out he’s a Pakistani-born American that had recently visited Pakistan. That was enough to get the propaganda machine whirring into life.

Let’s break this story down and take a look at it from two perspectives; first, from the perspective of the propagandists, and then from the perspective of a more logical reality devoid of rhetoric and emotive propagandising.

The Washington Post tells us that the wannabe bomber, Faisal Shahzad, together with his wife and two kids, in June of last year upped and disappeared from their home. We’re told that he left his job as a financial analyst just prior to ‘disappearing’. At about the same time, they put their home on the market. Then, according to the Wall Street Journal, three months later in September, presumably after having no success in being able to sell his rapidly depreciating home, his bankers, JP Morgan Chase and Co, began foreclosure procedures on them. So far it sounds like a very familiar story that has been repeated all over America. But the way the WSJ and the Washington Post tell it one is left to believe that Shahzad threw in his job, put his house on the market and then left for Pakistan in order to receive training on how to build bombs. The Washington Post, however, are sceptical about the story. They write:

“Many details surrounding Shahzad's alleged attempt to bomb Times Square are hard to reconcile. Why would someone who spent a decade pursuing U.S. citizenship seek to bomb an American landmark and flee the country within a year of being naturalized?”

Why, indeed. They also ask:

“How could someone with a degree in computers, who authorities say admitted receiving bomb-making training in Pakistan, assemble such an unsophisticated and unsuccessful device?”

We don’t actually know that Shahzad has ‘admitted’ any such thing; we’re only told that ‘authorities say’ he had. We are now expected to believe that an organisation that we were told was sophisticated enough to organise the destruction of the Twin Towers and other buildings as well as attack the nerve centre of the worlds sole remaining superpower at the Pentagon by flying several airliners into them within the space of a few hours and that have successfully built thousands of improvised explosive devices that have killed hundreds of allied soldiers cannot properly instruct a computer expert in the art of crude bomb making.

According to the neocon propagandists at Commentary magazine Shahzad gave up everything simply in order “to become a terrorist and to train in Pakistan”. But even the neocons can’t get their stories straight. According to The Weekly Standard, who quote a New York Post article, Shahzad became a Jihadist because of what he witnessed while in Pakistan. This conflicts with Commentary’s assertion that he left America to become a Jihadist.

Here’s is a far more realistic scenario which is supported by about as much evidence as the scenarios told by the media and their neocon propagandists but has a much more viable and rather more prosaic ring to it.

Seeing Shahzad’s home plummet in value due to the so-called Global Financial Crisis, JP Morgan Chase and Co start making noises about the value of his property not being anywhere near enough to cover the debt he has against it and they ask him to cough up more cash to cover the shortfall in the debt/asset ratio of the property. Realising that he won’t be able to either come up with the cash or even substantially increase his repayments to help cover the shortfall, Shahzad decides to retreat to his homeland where just maybe his father, a retired senior Pakistan Air Force officer, might be able to help him out either financially or, at least, be able to support him in Pakistan while he attempts to sort out his problems. There’s nothing unusual in this; many victims of foreclosure have had to return to their parent’s home – it’s just that most don’t have to head off to Pakistan to be with their parents.

Finding his father unable to help him financially he falls into arrears and the bank begins foreclosure proceedings against him. Frustrated that this has happened to him and that it has not been his fault he decides to return to America and, taking a leaf out of Joe Stack’s book, embarks on a plan to take revenge on a society that has, in his view, let him down. Fortunately, his plan came to nothing. Unlike Joe Stack, Shahzad didn’t attempt to go out in a blaze of glory but, rather, decided to leave the country and return to Pakistan where he was less likely to be caught. As we know, his plan to escape was thwarted and he was captured as he was attempting to leave the country.

So far, there has been no hard evidence at all that Shahzad had any connections whatsoever with al Qaeda or the Pakistan Taliban despite what the statements from the notoriously unreliable and utterly discredited government’s security and intelligence organisations say.

You be the judge. Is my totally unsupported story about how Shahzad may have found himself in the position he’s in less plausible than the propagandists equally totally unsupported story about him always wanting to be a terrorist and abandoning all to become a Jihadist?

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


While having a bit of a read of the new-look Ha’aretz Israeli online newspaper (which, by the way, is much better and faster than the old site) it occurred to me that, not only had Ha’aretz changed their website look, but they have also taken a considerable step to the left away from their usual more centrist position.

Of course, this hasn’t happened overnight. The trend has been developing slowly over some time now and, if I were asked to put a finger on when this leftward trend began, in retrospect I would probably think about such events as the 2006 Israeli war which started out being against Hezbollah but ended up being against the Lebanese people. Later, that pace of leftward movement was compounded by Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip but which, like the war against Lebanon, ended being against the Gazan people.

And it’s not just the newspaper that’s taken a leftward turn; the readership too has followed suit and this is reflected in the comments that are left at many of Ha’aretz’s articles. In the new-look Ha’aretz this has now been enhanced by the addition of a facility that allows commenters and readers to rate other reader’s comments. The result shows that there seems to be a distinct turn in attitude among Jews both in Israel and throughout the Diaspora away from the blind hatred propagated by Zionists against Palestinians, particularly those in the Gaza Strip. More and more people throughout the Jewish world are beginning to reject the confrontational posture that has been the way of the Zionists for more than sixty years and those old confrontational attitudes are now being replaced by an emerging need to seek peace.

There is still a long, long way to go but this is a very positive start. Let us hope it stays positive and builds up. There is no place for the old extreme right-wing Zionism in a region whose inhabitants are displaying a growing and ever louder demand for peace.

Monday, May 03, 2010


The following address was given to introduce as guest speaker Senator Nick Xenophon at the Annual Dinner of the Australian Friends of Palestine, Adelaide, 27 March, 2010. The speech is by the Chairperson, Paul Heywood-Smith QC.

When asked to introduce Senator Xenophon this evening I cast around for a bit of a theme. Nick was born in Australia of Greek parents. I don’t think that I am misrepresenting the position by saying that he has worn his Greek ancestry on his sleeve. Nick has always claimed that the Greek people were traditional supporters of the Palestinians but I will leave him to elaborate upon that.

There has been a thought drifting in and out of my head lately on the topic of dual loyalty. No doubt there was once a time, perhaps not that long ago, when Anglo-Saxon Australians would consider that taking the side of Great Britain, on whatever issue, was the only right thing to do.

Clearly, with the mobility of people today, there will always be people in this country, for example, who have affections if not perceived obligations to another country. Thus we have Australian Italians who not surprisingly support Italy against Australia in the World Cup. Some at least, I understand, still vote in Italian elections, as I believe Australians of Lebanese extraction did in the last Lebanese election.

We live in a democracy and we are free to criticize our government’s foreign policy. It is clear that at least recent new Australians may have an emotional, religious or cultural attachment to their country of origin. What I am concerned about however is when this leads to political advocacy for their other loyalty, to the point where the interests of the other country are given precedence over the interests of Australia. And what I am even more concerned about is when we put such persons into positions of particular political influence in government.

This issue was thrown into sharp relief in January when Mossad apparently murdered a Hamas official in Dubai and in the process used four Australian passports. It transpires that the real persons behind the passports are Australians living in Israel. If, as seems increasingly likely, given the lack of apparent complaint by them, the use of their passports was made possible by the consent of the persons concerned, we clearly have an instance of Australians with dual loyalty placing the interests of a foreign nation ahead of their own.

Rather surprisingly this appears to be something that in some instances the Australian government will condone. Thus we have the unseemly instance of the praise given by a former Australian Foreign Affairs Minister (Alexander Downer) to a young Australian who died fighting in the IDF (Israel Defence Force) during the 2006 Lebanon war. We could be confident, however, that no such praise would have been forthcoming for a young Australian of Lebanese extraction who died fighting for Hezbollah in the same war.

It would seem that dual loyalty when one of the countries concerned is Israel is not a problem. But is it not a problem?

In November, 1947 at the time of the vote on partition a vigorous debate ensued in Australia over the advisability of a Jewish state in Palestine. One person who totally opposed the plan was Australia’s most eminent Jewish Australian – Sir Isaac Isaacs. Isaacs was Australia’s first Australian born Governor–General (1931-36). He was a member of the first Federal Parliament (1901-6), a member of the High Court (1906-1930) and Chief Justice (1930-1931). He died in February 1948, two months before the creation of Israel. In the years prior to his death he engaged in a most public debate over the advisability of that event. He opposed it, and political Zionism, strongly. The Zionist champion was Prof. Julius Stone, a distinguished legal academic, also Jewish. One of the primary planks of Isaacs’ argument was that it created dual loyalty of Jewish persons to the states in which they were citizens and to a proposed Jewish state. Stone argued that there were no such problems. There can be little argument that history has born out the fears of Isaacs on this issue.

One need only look at the United States. Of course there is absolutely no objection to an American of Jewish background running for public office. But consider the actions of Senator Joseph Lieberman for example. Whenever the current Israeli government does another outrageous act as it did two weeks ago when Vice-President Biden went to Israel to kick start negotiations – by announcing another 1600 homes for settlers in the occupied territories – Lieberman can be counted upon to come up with a reflexive, unambiguous response in support of Israel, even when the country’s top brass – Petraeus and Mullen – are finally telling the President that the US support of Israel is acting against America’s interests.

The United States is perhaps a discrete example. Many people in government come from Jewish backgrounds. They have invariably been total supporters of Israel in its war against the Palestinians. Today, we have David Axelrod and Rahm Emmanuel. Yesterday we had such people as Richard Perle, Dennis Ross, and Paul Wolfowitz. One thing is certain. In the US, if you dared to suggest that some American Jews are guided in their political advocacy by allegiance to Israel, you would be accused of being anti-Semitic.

It is interesting however, and possibly a sign of the times, that only in this last week has the US Dept. of Justice been requested to regulate AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) as a foreign agent. But what of other countries? In the UK we find that the current Minister for Foreign Affairs is Jewish. David Miliband’s Polish and Belgian Jewish ancestry no doubt will have played an enormous part in his formative years, his parents and grandparents coming to the UK from a war-torn Europe. Would it even be fair to expect an impartial approach from him to such an issue as the use of UK passports by Mossad?

In Australia we have a different sort of problem. We have a Prime Minister who calls himself a Zionist. I don’t understand him to be Jewish or to have a Jewish background. I personally would rather have a Prime Minister who calls himself an Australian. We don’t want a Prime Minister who brings that sort of baggage to his decisions concerning this, one of Australia’s most important foreign issues.

But returning to the topic of dual loyalty: Michael Danby is a Jewish MHR who has been a steadfast advocate for Israel for the whole of his political life. Michael Danby has every right as an Australian to run for public office. But for someone with such clear divided loyalty is it appropriate for him to be made the Chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee?

These are perhaps a few thoughts that I will leave you with.

The speaker then proceeded to introduce Senator Xenophon