Series – Anti-Zionists and The Israel-Right-or-Wrong Crowd Have Much In Common: Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Israel-Right-or-Wrong vs Anti-Zionsts

What do the Israel-Right-or-Wrong crowd and anti-Zionists groups in Australia have in common?

Surprisingly, they share a number of traits and tendencies that leave sensible folk – Jews and non-Jews alike – bemused,  furious, or very, very bored.

This post begins a series examining the the similarities in these two groups:

The tin ear:

Whenever the shriekers from the anti-Zionist camp, the Australian Jewish “leadership” speak to the media, sensible folk everywhere cringe.

This is because both the tone and the content of a message that brooks no middle-ground is, frankly, un-Australian.

We know that Australians value moderation, humour, good-faith, and commitment to being Australian – as opposed to interlopers who find this country a convenient rest-stop as they campaign for their “homeland.”

Two excellent examples of this can be read in the comments section of two Age articles.

The first article is a poorly written, and somewhat confused diatribe by Moammar Mashni, head of Australians for Palestine.

In the comments section, read the many Australian reminders to him that his discourse sits very uncomfortably with this nation’s values. Many point out to him that his skewed loyalties are inappropriate, and that, beyond brief lip-service to Australian “freedom” in the first paragraph, he writes as though his Palestinian identity overwhelms his Australian identity completely.

The second article is by Jerusalem Post columnist, Sarah Honig; however it could have been written by anyone from the Zionist Council. I make this point because, many of the commenters do not distinguish between an Israeli journalist’s opinion, and Jewish Australian “leaders’,” line.

Throughout the passports affair, Jewish Australian “leaders” have done either nothing or very little to distinguish them as Australian Jewish communal representatives, as opposed to spokespeople for the Israeli government.

As always in such fora, a number of the comments are baldly anti-Semitic, but many are obviously from people uncomfortable with Australian Zionists who seem not to care at all that Australia’s sovereignty had been compromised.

Unshakable sense of victim-hood:

While Mashni’s cry that Palestinians are treated like “animals” in the Australian media is pretty hard to beat, both camps, and both articles mentioned above, believe that they are victims – victims of a media conspiracy against them, victims of an indifferent world, and of course, victims of each other. Once again, moderate commenters to these articles are contemptuous and heartily sick of these claims.

They see Israel, a first world country with a sophisticated military occupying the Palestinians, and they see Palestinians who engage in acts (including the vile indoctrination of their own children) that are indefensible and designed to scuttle their chances of getting their own state.

The hatred of whingeing seems integral to the Australian character, and never have there been two camps so utterly devoted to whinging. This ties in nicely to the “tin ear” element. Both groups have thus ensured that fewer people care about any genuine suffering experienced by either side.

But the Israel-Right-or-Wrong crowd should be aware that people seem to care even less about the Israeli side for two reasons: firstly, our “leaders” have so thoroughly mismanaged their media presence.

Secondly, like it or not, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, Israel has a case to answer, and to continue to stonewall in the face of this, and simply whinge about our own victim-hood is a sure-fire way to alienate the entire Australian public.

Coming up in Part 2:
Fury at dissent within own ranks

Disregard for overwhelming evidence
Dehumanising the “enemy”


In response to some of the questions about the Mossad post:

While Israel’s precise role in the Mahmoud al-Mabhouh assassination is unknown, Occam’s Razor suggests that the there must have been some Israeli involvement in procuring the passports of innocent people, including Australian citizens. While everyone is aware that forged passports are par for the course in espionage, identity theft of  Olim (immigrants to Israel) and citizens of friendly countries is not. I also stated that whether Israel was involved or not, Jewish Australia’s “leadership’s” failure to immediately condemn any infringement of Australia’s sovereignty was not only a misstep, but potentially very harmful to the community’s position in this country.

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15 Responses to “Series – Anti-Zionists and The Israel-Right-or-Wrong Crowd Have Much In Common: Part 1”

  1. Mohan says:

    Leave aside the failings of individuals. Look at the facts on the ground instead of foisting a false equality between Palestinians and the Israeli state – A regional superpower with WMDs and American backing on the one hand and a displaced people in refugee camps on the other.
    Equality between both sides is when Palestinian tanks, ships and jets impose a four year siege on Israel. Suicide bomngs are evil they are the acts of a brutalised few.

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  2. Morry says:

    I wish I knew who said “You’re not being paranoid if they really are out to get you”.

    As I expected, the furore has died down in the wake of mounting evidence that it is unlikely that there was any Mossad involvement, despite Occam’s Razor’s best efforts. Rationally the whole notion was patently ridiculous from the getgo, starting with the venue chosen to dispatch our Hamas hero. Can anyone think of a stupider, more difficult place than a much-frequented up-market hotel, replete with hundreds of security cameras and tamper-proof locks. Give me a break. The video footage that I did see showed the Hamas terrorist strolling in off the street alone. Surely the street was the perfect place to take him out …. if you were Mossad agents.

    Does it not make you at all angry that Australian identities in the form of fake passports are stolen every day without a word uttered, but that this hysteria was driven by the suggestion that it was orchestrated by Mossad. Now that that has become a rather remote possibility, it seems that passport fraud is no longer quite so dire.

    The fact is, Alex, that you had to go to a Jerusalem Post article to find the attitude you were seeking. Our own leadership’s response was actually a far more rational “let’s wait and see who did it as there is certainly no evidence that it was Mossad at this point. And yes, compromising Australia’s sovereignty is terrible, but let’s place the blame when we find out who did it”.

    I’m surprised that you say that “Israel has a case to answer”. That would only be true if there was a jot of evidence Israel did it. If you’re simply going to accept wild accusations from a largely antisemitic, politically motivated police chief, when he assures you, with no evidence, that “Israel did it” … suffice to say, this has happened often where Israel is concerned. The Jenin Massacre, Gaza Beach Massacre, Mohamed al Dura … there is a very long list of similar accusations, accomanied by a longrunning media feeding frenzy replete with huge photos, that all proved false. No paranoia there. Nor were there any apologies or retractions … and I don’t expect any in this case.

    The only arrrests, and actual real suspects were three Palestinians, undoubtedly let in by the victim, thus bypassing those amazing tamperproof locks. There were also another three suspects who fled to Iran, hardly the destination of choice for fleeing Mossad agents.

    It’s not unreasonable to expect Australia to have the same standard of waiting for evidence that they have for everybody else … that is intrinsic to our justice system. I don’t know why you don’t have the same problem as I do, seeing my government emabrass the Israeli ambassador by calling him to explain something for which there is no evidence, then calling his explanation unacceptable. Rudd would undoubtedly have gotten the same result had he called on the French or British ambassadors.

    Finally, yes, Israel has had a policy to confirm or deny nothing since its inception. You’re more than welcome to be critical of this policy, but it has worked well for Israel, at least that’s the way Israelis see it, and why they adher to it.

    Storm/teacup springs to mind, but the bad PR will remain for Israel, even if they arrest and execute the actual perpetrators, and they’re not Israeli. That’s the nature of bigotry.

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    • Mohan says:

      Sorry Morry there is more than a jot of evidence that Israel is involved. First, Qui bono – no one else is known to have an interest in killing him. The forged identities were of Israeli persons with dual nationalities who seem to be unaware of the theft. Israel had the opportunity to flatly deny the accusation and chose not to. The Government here is a near unconditional backer of Israel and yet decided to summon the ambassador.

      Within Israel former Mossad agent Tzipi Livni has welcomed the killing and her comments indicate Israeli inviolvement. Of course, if Australia digs deep enough or puts enough pressure as Jordan did over an attempted killing in Amman, Netanyahu had to supply the antidote to the poison used by Mossad agents, the truth might come out.

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    • Morry says:

      Mohan, there is undoubtedly a long list who wanted him dead starting with the Fatah faction, and, weirdest of coincidences, the only three people arrested were Palestinian. Secondly, anybody could get hold of these people’s identities, and that should be the focus of investigation. Did they all vist, say Petra, and stay in a Hotel where you present your passport for ID? Or visit the Pyramids?

      As to the rest, if you are comfortable that Israel burnt over 30 active agents (their images are now a matter of record), to run the gauntlet of a myriad of security cameras and tamperproof locks in order to take out one man in an high security Hotel, when video footage shows him coming in off an unprotected street (Mossad’s venue of choice) totally alone …. then you go for it. You must have total belief in Israel’s guilt to ignore the evidence, and hang your hat on a smattering of circumstantial inuendo.

      For myself, I believe that the tamperproof locks were bypassed by the assassins being let in because they were “brothers”, that (unlike the Mossad who would simply have put a bullet into him) they first injected him with a muscle relaxant in order to smother him with a pillow. Subsequently the Palestinians fled to Jordan where they were arrested, Iranians fled to Iran (no Mossad agent in his right mind would flee to Iran), leaving a very antisemitic police chief to do his best to pin it on Israel. This he did by seeking out only fake passports with an Israeli connection … which could have been provided by anyone.

      My scenario convinces me far more than yours, Mohan, but perhaps it’s worth waiting for some real evidence, rather than conjecture, to surface. I don’t believe it ever will, and like so many other unfair accusations of Israel that proved false, this will also simply fade away.

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  3. Lazy Guy says:

    I did read the two articles and I agree both were ridiculously partisan. I do want to say something off topic.

    For arguments sake, I am going to assume Mossad stole passport details and did make the ‘hit’. It also appears the man assassinated was an active participant in procuring rockets for Hamas.

    Is it somewhat churlish to be upset at the stolen passports? When compared to the military offensive operations in Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza last year, its a minor issue.

    In this operation no innocent people were killed. There were no severe economic losses for the wider Palestinian population.

    In this case I believe the Israeli operation was far more defensible and the passport issue will blow over.

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  4. Morry says:

    We seem to be discussing things that have been troubling Jews for a very long time. Someone just posted a 1911 article by Jabotinsky that could easily have been written yesterday about this particular fiasco.

    Jabotinsky’s advice? Rather than continue apologising for things you haven’t done, tell them to “go to hell” and to come back when they have some evidence.

    I think that’s better advice than the handwringing and the careful choice of words so that they don’t offend in any way. We are part of this society with the same rights as everyone. It’s time to “man up” and simply say, “go to hell until you can produce some evidence, any evidence at all … then we’ll at least have something to discuss”.

    But we missed the opportunity, because like all the other anti-Israeli or ani-Jewish diatribes and flurries, this one has already passed.

    It’s worth comparing the media response to the murder of 500 Christians in Nigeria to, say Israel’s incursion into Gaza. It doesn’t feature at all in the Age, Whilst the SMH and Australian only feature it in their “World” section. Despite more innocent civilians being killed in this act of genocide than in Gaza, we are treated to an objective report of the facts. No calls for UN investigations, no “human rights violations” here. And then again, in the scheme of things, how does this compare to irresponsible accusations of horrific passport theft? They seem far more important than this slaughter, as they did command the place of pride in these newspapers.

    I am not paranoid. I simply see the world as it is. Much of it, most of it, is extremely beautiful. But reporting on anything Israeli has a very ugly side, involving anything from irresponsible conjecture to outright lies. Is this a case of Israel-right-or-wrong? Certainly not. Israel makes mistakes, many mistakes, but in the vibrant democracy that is Israel, it picks up its own mistakes very quickly, with a far healthier set of checks and balances in place than we have in Australia.

    Speaking up about vilification relates to my own values as both an individual and a Jew. That is the right thing to do, and I will do it whenever a Jew, Christian, Moslem or any other is vilified. I’m sure that this is true for most of those you may have dropped into the “Israel-right-or-wrong” basket.

    That said, Israel certainly has a special place in my heart for very many valid reasons, and the unfairness and unjustness does pain me.

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  5. Jenny Batesman says:

    Would love to know what you thought of Rabbi Jacqueline Ninio on q and a Alex…?

    Fascinating discussion on Religion!

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    • Alex Fein says:

      Hey, Jenny.

      This week and next, I’m pretty swamped. If you can find the interview online, would you mind emailing it to me? Thanks :)

  6. Mohan says:

    Sorry, there is very little sense of unshakable victimhood among Palestinians I meet or of unshakable media bias. They know they can get their voice heard and have been trying to learn the ropes of the media, in a situation where they know and acknowledge they cannot match Israel’s political and economic clout.
    What is important is recognising the ground reality, who have been displaced and are under military occupation ? People fighting for freedom have used questionable methods in the past, that does not change the just nature of their cause. Freedom fighters from Ireland to India have employed terror tactics, that does not alter the just nature of their struggle against colonisation.

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  7. melina smith says:

    Are there acts of cronyism in the Jewish community leadership ,as there was with Greece’s past government leading to today’s problem…?

    Having had a brief look at the various social networking sites and face-book, i see that the same individuals marry from the same schools…a bit weird in some respects or just a close knit orthodox community?

    (Refer to Manny Waks criticism of a j.c.c.v appointment on the web.)

    Please take this as an out-siders observation and with all due respect pay homage to the decency in the community.

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    • Alex Fein says:

      Hi Melina.
      Firstly, your respect is much appreciated, but feel free to ask any questions you may have. That’s what this site’s for.

      As for cronyism – I’m not so sure. It’s a loaded word that could imply a lot of things. This site focuses on the lack of transparency in communal governance, and also what many believe is our leadership’s mishandling of our relations with wider Australia, both in the media and at the grass roots levels. Our high level advocacy, however, does seem to be very effective – if non-transparent as well.

      What are your impressions of the Greek community’s leadership?

  8. melina smith says:

    This is an interview with Papandreou on You-tube by the b.b.c ,please have a look at your perusal when you can Alex.

    It’s self explanatory and i wish we had more politicians of Greek heritage like Papandreou in Australia.


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  9. Mohan says:

    Great comment Morry! Fatah kills a rival with forged Israeli identities and Israel does not deny its involvement and go after Fatah and Australia summons the Israeli ambassador who does nothing to prove Israel’s innocence!

    Well I suppose there should be a strong protest to the Australian government for falsely involving Israel in the scandal! No sign of it yet!

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