The Apartheid Analogy

As I have written elsewhere, the apartheid analogy for Israel is incredibly discomforting for those on the left who while condemnatory of the occupation and the country's internal faults, still believe that there is a change the country can become a country for all, and not for some.

Call for scepticism

Sol Salbe had this letter published in today's (Melbourne) Age newspaper. IT IS a pity such a talented writer as Julie Szego applies her journalistic scepticism unevenly (Age Comment, 3/3/10). She correctly refuses to accept as proof circumstantial evidence presented by the Dubai police chief as to Mossad's culpability for the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. But she accepts as good coin what is said about Mabhouh.

Sensible Jew: Mossad and Our Passports

The Sensible Jew manages to have a thoughtful post on this hot topic on her blog. In the current debate surrounding the Australian passports used in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, there are two equally unsound positions. Firstly, there’s the shrill (if exultant) Anti-Zionist response, that often tips over into outright racism. (see readers comments at the end of the stories)

Hamas response to Goldstone avoids responsibility.

Bteslem, the Israel Human Rights Organization in the Occupied Territories reports -- On 3 February 2010, the Hamas government submitted a 52-page report to the UN in advance of the debate in the General Assembly on the report of the Goldstone Fact-finding Mission. The Hamas report discusses, among other things, the measures the government has taken to implement the mission’s recommendations and the investigations it has carried out regarding breach of international law committed by its forces during Operation Cast Lead, and provides clarifications relating to attacks from within the Gaza Strip against civilians and civilian objects in Israel.

Australian passports & extra-judicial killings

Various versions of this letter were published in The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian today. ---------------------------- The morality of extra-judicial killings is an extraordinarily difficult one, because they undermine the principle of the rule of law and particularly international law. Who would not have wanted to get rid of Hitler?

Daniel Sokatch: In Defense of the New Israel Fund

Daniel Sokatch is CEO of the New Israel Fund. Fortuitously, he has been in Australia at a time when a series of attacks on the integrity of the fund (and Naomi Chazan) have been circulating. He spoke at the Shirah Hadashah synagogue on 24 February before a packed audience, and his talk is available for listening to directly or downloaded (mp3, right mouse click and save). The file is about 10mg in size and 47 minutes long). It stands to the credit of an inclusive Orthodox congregation that he was invited to speak. Kol ha-kavod! Thanks to Daniel for permission to record. It makes for fascinating listening. [Photo source:, but it seems to appear elsewhere as well...]

Dubai, Fake Passports and Other things

Uri Avnery has a blog post on the Dubai hit-squad/fake passports scandal, in which he says "The Dubai affair is reinforcing the image of Israel as a bully state, a rogue nation that treats world public opinion with contempt, a country that conducts gang warfare, that sends mafia-like death squads abroad, a pariah nation to be avoided by right-minded people." Avnery's whole piece is blistering reading which moves one away from any feelings of secret pride, to deep concern about the Mossad's power.

Martin Indyk : The Truth About the New Israel Fund

Martin Indyk is a UK-born, former US Ambassador to Israel who grew up in Australia. His defense of the NIF is significant, particularly because he has been a strong defender of Israeli and obviously American foreign policy interests.

This is what he has said about the New Israel Fund in an important counter to the current misinformation campaign in Australia and other countries:

The Truth About the New Israel Fund Martin Indyk 22nd February 2010

When I served as U.S. Ambassador in Israel in the 1990s, and as an American Jew committed to Israel's survival and well- being, I became deeply concerned about the failure to adequately address the problems of inequality in Israel. I could see that Israeli governments were so preoccupied with war and peace decisions that they had little time to attend to the needs of Israel's Arab and Bedouin minorities. Although growing into a robust Jewish state, Israel was falling short of Ben-Gurion's standard that Israel should also be a state for all its citizens with equal rights for all, as called for in Israel's Declaration of Independence. I feared the effect on the basic health of Israel's democracy.

Chazan and the NIF: The local roast continues

A few good letters appeared in the Australian Jewish News on 18 Feb 2009 Treatment of Chazan and the NIF is shameful THE furore over the New Israel Fund (NIF) has highlighted an ugly underbelly in both Australia and Israel. The NIF and organisations that have received NIF grants work on civil and human rights; social and economic justice; religious pluralism and tolerance for Israeli Arabs and Bedouin citizens; the environment and assistance for immigrants – issues enshrined in Israel’s declaration of independence.