This week in the Jewish News (August 7 2009)

There’s an article on page 3 about al Manar. Despite the best attempts of AIJAC, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) won’t ban al Manar (basically Hezbollah’s tv station) from airing in Australia. They hope to overturn this with the assistance of Itamar Marcus, a West Bank settler who runs the MEMRI-like Palestinian Media Watch. Mark Leibler and Colin Rubenstein are disappointed. Well, if they had the influence often attributed to them, the gvoernment would cave in. I wouldn’t bet on them achieving this (and it’s not like there’s a Hezbollah lobby, or any interests Australia has in supporting Hezbollah tv).

The ADC, in another article, addresses the issue of Nazi comparisons. According to Deborah Stone – who wrote the report on newmatilda and singled out me and Loewenstein in it – Nazi comparisons were “quite a common discourse in the Australian media at the time and in the protest movement”. Yeah, okay. Find two references in the Age, Australian, SMH, Daily Telegraph to the Holocaust. Stone: “there were a great many examples of the use of Nazi symbolism and Holocaust comparison. These occurred on billboards and websites, in cartoons and in opinion columns.” The context, of course, is that this should be connected to anti-Semitism (because a report in England on anti-Semitism is about anti-Semites comparing Israel to Nazis.) I don’t expect them to object to Nazi comparisons by say Netanyahu, or Bren Carlill, who suggest that opposing settlements means making the West Bank “judenrein”.

On the next page, there is a headline: Danby calls for more debate. I’m not making that up. Danby is paraphrased as complaining about “the mainstream media’s lack of reasoned debate about Israel and beyond”. He wants Fairfax, ABC and Crikey to allow more serious debate. It’s not clear if this is pathological, or he just expects no one to notice his chutzpah.

In other news

The Palestinian leadership has failed the Palestinians so consistently and terribly for so long. Hamas is almost comical. On July 23, the NYT reported that Hamas was shifting to political struggle rather than armed struggle, aiming at winning public support across the world. They’re going to build a “culture of resistance”. To any sane person, it’s perfectly obvious this is the only means of effective resistance they have, and the failures of Fatah and Hamas on this front are unbelievable (have a look at what people like Chomsky, Said, AbuKhalil, Eqbal Ahmad say about them). (to be fair, Fatah gave up basically gave up all resistance years ago)

Okay, so what happened a few days after it was reported they were focusing on appealing to the conscience of the world? Hamas is beginning a campaign to Islamise the Gaza strip. As’ad AbuKhalil, one of my favoured secularists, wrote about “the lousy Islamic state that Hamas is constructing in Gaza. They even launched a campaign of “Yes to virtue”. I propose a counter-campaign of “No to Hamas”.”

But more than this, which is ugly enough: how are they going to increase public support by what AbuKhalil calls their Talibanisation process? Perhaps it will please their patrons in Iran: quite obviously, no one in the West will be impressed, and it will not help their appeal to liberals and leftists. Even in the Muslim world Hamas’s religious program is unpopular, and as they’re not revolutionaries, they’ll alienate the collaborationist Arab regimes (like Egypt) even more.

Meanwhile, Hamas called again for a two state agreement. Haaretz reported – accurately – that the US and Israel dismissed his call for a two state agreement. It seems to me they remain incoherent and incompetent. It is good and important that they continue to abstain from the terrorist atrocities from their past. Yet they continue to have no moral credibility internationally.

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