On May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence. Each May 15, Palestinians solemnly commemorate Nakba Day. Nakba means catastrophe, and that’s precisely what Israel’s independence has been for the more than 700,000 Arabs and their five million refugee descendants forced from their homes and into exile, often by horrific violence, to make way for the Jewish state.
Supporters of Israel among Britain’s ruling elite tend to recite mantras about the two nations sharing the same values.
If theft and plunder were regarded as values, the mantras would have a ring of truth to them.
Expecting full honesty and transparency from Theresa May’s government would, however, not be realistic. So it comes as little surprise that one of her cabinet colleagues has wished Israel a happy 70th birthday, while trumpeting its commitment to “justice, compassion, tolerance.”
The greeting – from Gavin Williamson, Britain’s defense secretary – was delivered at a time when unarmed protesters were being massacred in Gaza.
Britain’s ruling elites have never atoned for their role in enabling the 1948 dispossession of Palestinians. Rather, they have prolonged and exacerbated the suffering of Palestinians, while pretending to believe in justice.
“Cannabis has hit the headlines recently due to legalisation in many States across the US, however, prior to the legalisation, it was only illegal for a few short decades and was prescribed in many western countries up until the 1970s.” That triggered a huge Global Criminal Industry bigger than Prohibition. ( OD )
Israel, which has supplied numerous despotic regimes with advanced weaponry, is now helping the Rwandan government rewrite the narrative of the 1994 genocide. So much for the lessons of the Holocaust.
January 26, 1788, the day the British Empire jacked an entire continent; the day that marks the beginning of a 230-year reign of terror on the Indigenous peoples of this land we call Australia, which continues to this day.
Like most of Trump’s pronouncements, this was boilerplate projection. If anything is full of lies, it is the president himself. As The Washington Post documented back in November, Trump had made 1,628 “false or misleading claims” in less than 300 days in office ― for an astonishing average of 5.5 false statements a day. That pace has not abated.
“We have to be their check on power,” declares Post editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), as he argues the case for printing the story with publisher Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) while she wrestles with the possibility of losing her business and winding up in prison in the process. “We have to hold them accountable. If we don’t, who will?”
“In the absence of the governmental checks and balances present in other areas of our national life, the only effective restraint upon executive policy and power in the areas of national defence and international affairs may lie in an enlightened citizenry – in an informed and critical public opinion which alone can here protect the values of democratic government,” he wrote. “For this reason, it is perhaps here that a press that is alert, aware, and free most vitally serves the basic purpose of the first amendment. For, without an informed and free press, there cannot be an enlightened people.”
However then came Murdoch and Fox News and now Sinclair
Jere Van Dyk has reported on Afghanistan since the 1970s and has written extensively about the nation’s evolution from a hippie haven to a battleground for the war on terror. His most recent book is The Trade: My Journey into the Labyrinth of Political Kidnapping, which details his search for answers after being kidnapped by the Taliban in 2008. Van Dyk talks about his years in a surprisingly progressive Afghanistan in the early 1970s and the United States’ funding of the mujahideen in the 1970s and 1980s with the hopes of turning Afghanistan into the Soviet Union’s Vietnam. He also discusses harrowing experience of being held captive by the Taliban and explains why he returned to the country years later in spite of great personal risk.
Lord Balfour, for one, sharply rejected the Wilsonian approach. “In Palestine,” he declared, “we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country, though the American commission has. [. . .] Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is…of far profounder import than the desire and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.”
In the end, Lord Balfour had his way. Instead of independence, boundaries were drawn, dismembering the Arab East and creating British and French spheres of influence over the newly created states of Lebanon and Syria (France) and trans-Jordan and Iraq (Britain) as well as Palestine (also to the British, with the understanding that it would become the “Jewish Homeland”).
And so, the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration is not cause for celebration. Rather it should prompt us to recall the grave injustice that imperial acquisitiveness and racist insensitivity have done to an innocent Arab nation. Their rights and opinions were ignored and as a result the last 100 years have been marked by unceasing conflict and suffering. This is the shame of Balfour.
Stephen Keim discusses Kevin Donnelly’s use of a discredited IPA study as a benchmark for university education content and the advancement of the Right’s long march into privilege, tyranny and ‘universal truth’.WHEN an opinion piece, starts by citing an Institute of Public Affairs’ (IPA) “forensic analysis of how history is now taught in our universities”, it is probably a good signal that I should read no further.
The dismissal of the Whitlam government and the Queen’s embargo of her correspondence with the governor general about it remind us of the lingering power of the “colonial relics”. While the palace letters remain closed to us, at the behest of the Queen, we can never know the full story of the dismissal of the Whitlam government.
Indigenous people have become a postscript to Australian history thanks to a belief in the superiority of white Christendom, writes Stan Grant.
At the base of a Captain Cook statue in Sydney, the inscription reads, Discovered this territory, 1770. Surely we need no longer maintain the fiction that he discovered this country.
Since 1967, the Israeli media has hid the ugly, everyday reality in the occupied territories. But even if they really knew, would Israelis still choose to end 50 years of military rule over the Palestinians? By Yizhar Be’er According to the democratic-liberal-utopian model, let us assume for a moment that every citizens has access to all the information about the reality that surrounds us. In this world, Israelis would know everything about what is being done in their names in the territories occupied in 1967. And what would happen then? [tmwinpost] Over the past few months I have been producing a radiophonic project…
If you’re going to lie, make it a big one. And nowhere are they bigger than from the mouths of our leaders, writes Richard Hil. It’s not unusual for the powerful to distort, manipulate and deceive. Orwellian doublespeak, spin and obfuscation have become the everyday stuff of power elites. It’s been like this for aMore
He may be the subject of worship from London’s Parliament Square to the Oval Office in Washington DC, but Winston Churchill was little more than a mass murderer, with as much blood on his hands as Hitler does. That’s according to the Indian politician and author Shashi Tharoor, whose new book ‘Inglorious Empire’ chronicles the …
The long read: For a century, the East India Company conquered, subjugated and plundered vast tracts of south Asia. The lessons of its brutal reign have never been more relevant
Some 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes in the 1948 war that led to Israel’s establishment. One organization is taking Israelis to visit the ruins of the abandoned villages, to learn about the Palestinian ‘Nakba,’ or tragedy. Read more about Nakba remembrance: Turning entire Palestinian villages invisible How we learned to forget the villages we destroyed For Israelis, Palestinian refugees are a constant, lurking threat
Picturing the deadly legacy of America’s secret war in Laos.
This NAIDOC Week, Indigenous rights campaigner Julian Cleary explores some of the interesting, humbling, and downright inspiring facts whitewashed from our history lessons.
The stories of the British aristocrats who converted to Islam.
The Islamic State group dominates global headlines but do we really understand what it’s trying to achieve?
In 1838 white settlers murdered 28 Aboriginal men, women and children near Myall Creek Station. For the first time in history some killers were tried and hanged.The massacre is a harrowing reminder of Australia’s colonial violence.
Despite years of Jewish education, much of which focused on Israel, this young American Zionist was still ignorant of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. By David Sarna Galdi The Israeli occupation of the West…
The 1966-76 Cultural Revolution is a history too long and too tragic to fully conceal.
Before the advent of Zionism and Arab nationalism, Jews and Palestinians lived in peace in the holy land. Menachem Klein’s new book maps out an oft-forgotten history of Israel/Palestine, and offers some guidance on how…
Gratuities were once an excuse to shortchange black people. In fact, they still are.
OPINION: The party of safe economic hands? Not so much. It’s time to blow this hard-to-kill myth out of the water, writes Costa Avgoustinos. 1) Bad Social Values Mean Bad Economic Decisions Like everyone, the Liberals’ economic decisions are tied to their social values. And they make bad economic decisions because of that. They seeMore
Original Analysis by +972 Magazine’s bloggers and op-ed contributors
Source: Analysis | +972 Magazine
Another skirmish in the history wars. A guide – not a directive – to the University of New South Wales Diversity Toolkit has said that Australia was not settled peacefully, it was invaded, occupied and colonized.
Source: The idiot section | The Monthly
Debate about Aboriginal history in Australia always descends into hysteria because it bruises our misplaced national pride.
No matter the Arab leaders’ achievements, it is their shortcomings and failures that define the current era.
It’s been more than 50 years since Allen Dulles resigned as director of the CIA, but his legacy lives on. Between 1953 and 1961, under his watch, the CIA overthrew the governments of Iran and Guatemala, invaded Cuba, and was tied to the killing of Patrice Lumumba, Congo’s first democratically elected leader. We speak with David Talbot, author of “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government,” about how Dulles’ time at the CIA helped shape the current national security state.
Part 2 of our interview with David Talbot, author of “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government,” about how Dulles’ time at the CIA helped shape the current national security state.
What you need to know to understand Syria’s civil war — and the refugee crisis it created.
Tyrant, confused daydreamer… So who was Saddam, really?
80s business tycoon Alan Bond has paid a billion dollars for a small patch of Heaven that Kerry Packer first bought for $80 five years ago.
Mr Bond, who was desperate to make his mark in the afterlife, said Packer was not willing to budge from his initial price of $1 billion. “So I made a few phone calls and managed to put together enough for the asking price. It’s a stunning little plot of land,” Mr Bond said.
Before the purchase, the land was independently valued at $180.
Mr Packer said he was pleased with the transaction. “You only get one Alan Bond per afterlife, and I’ve had mine”.
Friday’s ISIS suicide bombings in Yemen and Saudi Arabia – killing a total of at least 43 people – is yet more bitter fruit of the policy pursued by Britain, the US and France and their Gulf allies for the past eight years.
This strategy – of fostering violently sectarian anti-Shiite militias in order to destroy Syria and isolate Iran – is itself but part of the West’s wider war against the entire global South by weakening any independent regional powers allied to the BRICs countries, and especially to Russia.
The strategy was first revealed as far back as 2007 in Seymour Hersh’s article “The Redirection”, which revealed how Bush administration officials were working with the Saudis to channel billions of dollars to sectarian death squads whose role would be to “throw bombs… at Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran and at the Syrians,” in the memorable words of one US official.
More evidence of precisely how this strategy unfolded has since been revealed. Most recently, last Monday saw the release of hundreds of pages of formerly classified US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) documents following a two year court battle in the US.
These documents showed that, far from being an unpredictable “bolt from the blue,” as the mainstream media tends to imply, the rise of ISIS was in fact both predicted and desired by the US and its allies as far back as 2012.
The DIA report, which was widely circulated amongst the various US military and security agencies at the time, noted: “There is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria, and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).” Elsewhere, the “supporting powers to the opposition” are defined as “Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey”.
In other words, a Salafist – that is militantly anti-Shia – “principality” was “exactly” what the West wanted as part of their war against not only Syria, but “Shia expansion” in Iraq as well. Indeed, it was specifically acknowledged that “ISI [the forerunner of ISIS] could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.”
The precision of the declassified predictions is astounding. Not only was it predicted that the terrorist groups being supported by Washington and London in Syria would team up with those in Iraq to create an “Islamic State,” but the precise dimensions of this state were also spelt out: recognizing that “the Salafist[s], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” The report noted that the consequences of this for Iraq would be to “create the ideal atmosphere for AQI [Al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi.”
Mosul, don’t forget, was taken by ISIS in June 2014, and Ramadi fell earlier this week.
Recent months have seen the West and its regional allies massively stepping up their support for their anti-Shiite death squads. In late March, Saudi Arabia began its bombardment of Yemen following military gains made by the Houthi (Shiite) rebels in that country. The Houthis, the only effective force fighting Al Qaeda in the country, had taken key territories from them last November, and were subsequently threatening them in their remaining strongholds. This was when the Saudis began their bombardment, with US and British support, naturally, and, unsurprisingly, Al Qaeda have been the key beneficiary of this intervention, gaining a breathing space and regaining valuable lost territory, retaking the key port of Mukulla within a week of the commencement of the Saudi bombardment.
Al Qaeda have also been making gains in Syria, taking two major cities in Idlib province last month following a ramping up of military support from Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. And of course, Britain has been leading the way for a renewed military intervention in Libya in the guise of a “war against people smuggling” that, as I have argued elsewhere, will inevitably end up boosting the most vicious gangs involved in the trade, namely ISIS and Al Qaeda.
So why the sudden urgency on the part of the West and its allies to step up support for Al Qaeda et al now?
The answer lies in the increasing disgust at the activities of the death squads across the region. No longer perceived as the valiant freedom fighters they were depicted as in 2011, their role as shock troops for the West’s “divide and ruin” strategy, promising nothing but a future of ultra-violent trauma and ethnic cleansing, has become increasingly obvious. The period between mid-2013 and mid-2014 saw a significant turning of the tide against these groups.
It began in July 2013 with the ouster of Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi following fears he was planning to send in the Egyptian army to aid the Syrian insurgency. New President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi put an end not only to that possibility, but to the flow of fighters from Egypt to Syria altogether. The West hoped to step in the following month with airstrikes against the Syrian government, but their attempts to ensure Iranian and Russian acquiescence in such a move came to nought and they were forced into a humiliating climbdown.
Then came the fall of Homs in May 2014, as Syrian government forces retook a key insurgent stronghold. The momentum was clearly with the government side; that is until ISIS sprang onto the scene – and with them, a convenient pretext for a US-led intervention that had been ruled out just a year before.
Meanwhile, in Libya, the pro-death squad parties decisively lost elections to the first elected House of Representatives in June 2014. Their refusal to accept defeat led to a new chapter in the post-NATO Libyan disaster, as they set up a new rival government in Tripoli and waged war on the elected parliament. Yet following a massacre of Egyptians by ISIS in Libya in February of this year, Egypt sent its airforce in on the side of the Tobruk (elected) parliament; it is now, apparently, considering sending in ground troops.
Losing ground in Yemen, in Libya, in Egypt and in Syria, the West’s whole strategy for using armed Salafists as tools of destabilization was starting to unravel. Thank goodness, people in certain quarters must be thinking, for ISIS.
Tony Abbott’s rating as a leader flounders somewhere between asbestos and Ebola, and history suggests he doesn’t have the time to turn this image around and stave off a backbencher attack, writes Toby Ralph.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a politician in possession of a bad public image is very probably charming in private.
This curiously counter-intuitive phenomenon tends to work equally successfully in reverse. It perplexed me for years until I realised that the gruesome business of cultivating mass acceptability invariably requires the sacrifice of authenticity, just as those that remain authentic customarily surrender popularity.
Political image matters, but is oft misunderstood. Many conflate likeability and leadership, but were congeniality the criteria by which we selected our politicians Kylie Minogue would be PM with Wil Anderson Treasurer, ably supported by a cabinet of the Wiggles and Bananas in Pyjamas.
Australians recognise the need for a bit of mongrel in our leaders – we hire them to do difficult and unpopular things – but it’s a fine line as Campbell Newman has just discovered.
Sacking 14,000 public servants to repurpose a billion bucks or more annually while simultaneously increasing public sector efficiency was no small achievement, while the decision to go to the election on the wobbly platform of leasing state assets was politically heroic.
If you get too tough too fast you’d better have a deep reservoir of goodwill to drain, or you’ll be publicly thanked for your decisive action with an unemployment slip.
Ms Minogue might have sold it: Can-Do Campbell couldn’t.
Which brings us to the comings and potential goings of Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
It is often said of our Prime Minister that if you want to hate him you’d best not meet him – but a fraction of one per cent of our 23,734,369 strong population has the luxury of forming this view – while the millions that do not increasingly line up to scoff at his actions.
Unwarranted or not, his rating as a leader flounders somewhere between asbestos and Ebola, causing some parliamentary colleagues to question if replacement might be more prudent than renovation.
The truth is that image, once damaged, is formidably difficult to repair.
In opposition Mr Abbott positioned himself as a fierce combatant, surrounding himself with a team that excelled at attack. That skill and team have been carried into Government, and his finest moments in office thus far have been those in which he could oppose something: Russians shooting down planes, turbaned terrorists and people smugglers.
However, he has yet to create a sturdy leadership narrative, so his image is being characterised by largely inconsequential but seemingly haphazard decisions like the perplexing knighting of a Duke.
Worse still his time may have run out, for the media smell blood and backbenchers are fretting in public.
How does a politician fix unpopularity fast? A well-trod path is to find a bigger menace and stand against it based on the notion that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
War works rather well.
In 1982 Margaret Thatcher was the least popular leader in recent British history. Then, apparently miffed by Argentinian involvement in an island of 1820 souls off their coast, she launched a naval task force.
A year and a thousand deaths later she was re-elected in a landslide.
Sadly an invasion of the Australian Antarctic Territory seems unlikely and were the Cocos to annex Christmas Island or New Zealand endeavour a hostile seizure of Tasmania I suspect few would care, so that seems to rule out a military adventure.
Without the drama of conflict, image repair requires the tedious slog of explaining what is envisaged, then why it will be of benefit and how it will happen.
Traditionally this is the domain of spin doctors, pollsters and other backroom ne’er-do-wells who conjure up uber-researched glib three word slogans in the patronising hope that punters will accept and echo them.
This hasn’t worked for Mr Abbott since he won the fancy office and the big car with the flag, and I would counsel against it, for repeating a strategy that has manifestly failed would be foolish.
Authenticity and a prudent well-communicated plan with seamless execution pave the road to redemption.
But is there time to create that path?
History suggests not, for once backbencher clamour for change moves from their back rooms to our lounge rooms a dreadful inevitability looms.
Shakespeare had a view:
There is no help.
The bitter disposition of the time
Will have it so.
Toby Ralph is a marketing, strategy and communications consultant who has worked on nearly 50 elections across three continents.
If you made a list of countries you hope have learned from their past hundred years of mistakes, Germany would have to be at the top. Happily, the staunch opposition to a nativist fringe that the nation’s government and citizenry have shown in recent weeks makes it clear, again, that Germany understands the costs of bigotry and the virtues of tolerance.
Unhappily, it has not learned the costs of a mad adherence to fiscal orthodoxy, despite the fact that its prosperity is rooted in the decision of its World War II adversaries to allow West Germany’s postwar government to write off half of its debts.
Harold Meyerson writes a weekly political column that appears on Thursdays and contributes to the PostPartisan blog. View Archive
Indeed, the policies that Angela Merkel’s government have inflicted on the nations of Southern Europe could not be more different from those that European leaders and the United States devised in the early 1950s to enable West Germany to rebuild its damaged economy. Since the crash of 2008, Germany, as Europe’s dominant economy and leading creditor, has compelled Mediterranean Europe, and Greece in particular, to sack their own economies to repay their debts.
Germany’s insistence has reduced Greece to a condition like that of the United States at the bottom of the Great Depression. Unemployment has soared to 25 percent, and youth unemployment to more than 50 percent ; the economy has shrunk by 26 percent and consumption by 40 percent. Debt has risen to 175 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. And the funds from the loans that Germany and other nations have extended to Greece have gone almost entirely either to cover interest payments or repay past loans; only 11 percent has actually gone to Greece’s government. Stuck on a treadmill of debt repayment and anemic economic activity, Greece, as the Financial Times noted, has been reduced to a “quasi-slave economy” run “purely for the benefit of foreign creditors.”
Not surprisingly, when Greek voters went to the polls Sunday, they elected a new government that is demanding a renegotiation of its debt. German and European Union officials have responded with adamant opposition to any such changes.
Fortunately for Germany, its own creditors took quite a different stance after World War II. In the London Debt Agreement of 1953, the 20 nations — including Greece — that had loaned money to Germany during the pre-Nazi Weimar Republic and in the years since 1945 agreed to reduce West Germany’s debts by half. Moreover, they agreed that its repayments could not come out of the government’s spending but only and explicitly from export income. They further agreed to undervalue the German mark, so that German export income could grow. By the consent of all parties, the London Agreement, and subsequent modifications, were crafted in proceedings that made West Germany an equal party to its creditors: It could, and sometimes did, reject the creditors’ terms and insist on new negotiations.
The United States was particularly insistent on making the terms of West Germany’s repayments as lenient as possible. It needed the nation to be a strong ally in the Cold War. Besides, West Germany’s government, headed by Christian Democrat Konrad Adenauer, was (presumably) Nazi-free. To further punish Germany, its onetime mortal enemies concluded, was strategically — and, just maybe, morally — unwise.
No such scruples have informed Germany’s current policies toward Greece. As a member of the euro zone, Greece cannot undervalue its currency, and rather than enabling Greece to increase its exports, Germany has done everything possible to increase its own trade balance with Greece and its European neighbors. Far from rebuilding the economies of Southern Europe, Germany pillaged them in the name of fiscal rectitude.
But the considerations that informed Germany’s creditors six decades ago are just as pertinent today. Strategically and economically, it would be a disaster for Germany if Greece were compelled to repudiate its debts and leave the euro zone, as such a move would threaten the zone’s continued existence. The new Greek government represents at least as clean a break with Greece’s previous mis-rulers as the Adenauer government did with Hitler’s. Its early appointments signal a novel development in Greek governance: a fight against the corruption and crony capitalism that have long corroded the nation’s economy.
Why can’t Germany apply the lessons of its own past to today’s economic challenge? As Jurgen Kaiser noted in a brilliant paper for the think tank of Germany’s Social Democrats, “little knowledge about Germany’s debt relief is to be found among the broader public in Germany.”
The world will be a better place when Germans know their history — all of it.
Read more from Harold Meyerson’s archive or follow him on Twitter.
Read more on this topic: