Categorized | Nova Newsletter

A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter

BDS is evil/Nazism/terrible/awful/anti-Semitic (but Israel scared of global equal rights campaign)

Posted: 22 Feb 2012


How’s this for hysteria? Such hyperbole masks a deep insecurity. Israeli occupation of Palestine continues. Daily threats against Iran continues. Apartheid grows in the West Bank. But the real threat, people, is this damned BDS!

This story, in Murdoch’s Australian today, shows one thing; bullying is the only way the Zionist lobby and its political and media courtiers know how to play; and they are losing public opinion, finally:

Israel’ representative in Australia has abandoned normal diplomatic language to slam “vigilante local councils” in inner Sydney that have pursued boycotts against his country.

Ambassador Yuval Rotem, a former chief of staff to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told a gathering at NSW parliament on Tuesday evening that supporters of the boycotts, divestment and sanctions campaign held a “schoolchildren’s view of foreign conflict” and had suffered a “humiliating public defeat” at the state election last March.

However, Mr Rotem reserved his strongest words for Fiona Byrne, the former mayor of Marrickville in inner-western Sydney, whose position on the BDS was widely credited with costing her a seat in state parliament for the Greens. Marrickville Council adopted BDS as official policy under Ms Byrne, but abandoned it a few months later following public condemnation.

“The candidate for Marrickville, Fiona Byrne, tripped over herself in many public statements, confused that her Utopian vision of a world with a weakened Israel was poorly received outside the confines of her urban hamlet,” Mr Rotem said.

“BDS in Australia has since become a media byline, like the S11 and G20 protests before it, for another failed movement of radical activists which, shamefully, attached itself to a municipal council for a few months.”

Mr Rotem also hit out at Ms Byrne’s federal Greens colleague, Lee Rhiannon, a former prominent supporter of the Soviet Union who marched alongside controversial Islamic cleric Taj Din al-Hilali at an anti-Israel demonstration in Sydney in 2010. “Where Lee Rhiannon’s Greens looked likely to pick up a cluster of seats in the NSW election, they left demoralised, finishing behind Labor on primary votes in the only seat they ended up winning,” Mr Rotem said.

“When we hear about BDS now, it’s not coming from the mouths of prominent politicians and mayors or respected journals of record. It’s being shouted from poorly attended protests or from the back of police cars or from the former communists who stayed with Stalin even after the (Berlin) Wall fell. One year on, and the movement in NSW to economically undermine the Middle East’s only democracy is as dead as Fiona Byrne’s brief career in international diplomacy.

“The concern throughout NSW that arose during the BDS debates was expected: common sense does not comply with vigilante local councils wreaking self-imposed economic sanctions on one nation which is locked in a struggle for peace.”

Mr Rotem was speaking at the relaunch of Parliamentary Friends of Israel, a group including Labor and Coalition MPs, along with one Green, upper house MP Jeremy Buckingham.

Mr Buckingham has emerged as a leader of the “deep-green” or conservation-focused section of the party in NSW, which has pushed back at the hard-Left faction associated with Senator Rhiannon. He successfully led a push last December for the state party to abandon BDS.

In his speech, Mr Rotem said: “I thank those Greens MPs and candidates who stood tall and opposed BDS, citing their own values of principle and justice, for which some of their colleagues have no tolerance.”

Co-convener of the parliamentary group, Labor upper house MP Walt Secord, told The Australian: “The ambassador gave one of the toughest speeches I have ever heard from a diplomat in my more than 20 years observing and participating in Australian politics. Further, I agree 100 per cent with the ambassador’s observations on the Greens . . . Their tactics were schoolyard foreign affairs and almost borderline anti-Semitism.”

Ms Byrne would not comment.

Breakdance revolution In Gaza

Posted: 22 Feb 2012

Risking body and soul as a foreign journalist

Posted: 21 Feb 2012

Committee to Protect Journalists on growing threats to the people who bring us the news:

In the 1990s, journalists’ deaths in the Balkans and Africa underscored “the need for a systematic approach to journalists’ physical security,” said Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Columbia University-based Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma. The shock of the September 11 attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq made the journalist security field, at least for a time, a growth industry.

Today, the need for safety preparation has never seemed greater. Traditional threats to journalists persist at the same time that new dangers are either emerging or becoming apparent. Sexual assault, civil unrest, organized crime, digital security, and trauma are all recognized challenges to press freedom and safety, and leading news organizations are either modifying the military-oriented training courses, or developing their own security practices and curriculum. Still, money for security training is limited, and employers struggle to adapt their preparation to the myriad dangers. “We’ve quickly had to change our view of security,” said David Verdi, vice president of worldwide news-gathering for NBC News.

“We need a more nuanced approach,” said Judith Matloff, a veteran foreign correspondent and independent journalist security trainer who recently became director of the North American branch of the London-based nonprofit International News Safety Institute. “What is the best training for a situation? We need to do assessments of needs, as opposed to taking the approach that there is one solution for all.”


One area in which many international news organizations have provided better support for journalists in recent years is coping with stress and trauma. Years ago, said Al-Jazeera’s Allan, “I think every journalist was supposed to suck it up.” Allan, a journalist of 30 years, said attitudes toward trauma are different today. “There are signs, and you can help people,” she said.

Comments are closed.

Shoah’s pages


February 2012
« Jan   Mar »