29 April 2014


Ever since Barack Obama became president of the United States of America he has set out to prove that Democrat presidents are as right-wing, reactionary, and determined to conquer those parts of the world not yet in the US sphere of influence as is possible. Where it doesn't seem possible, this president will utilise all the business power available to him to turn the world into United States satellite states as so many of them already are!

The original treaty which was supposed to be the be-all and end-all of all trade partnerships was the North America Free Trade Alliance (NAFTA)consisting of Mexico, the United States and Canada.

The results of NAFTA for these countries after about 20 years since inception has been loss of jobs, factory closures and organisations establishing themselves in countries outside the NAFTA areas.

Much more recently Obama and the US government tried to push through items such as SOPA, PIPA and others of their ilk in order to control what you can access on the web and to stop downloading of films and music clips around the world.

Organisations across the USA opposed to SOPA and PIPA collaborated in one of the most successful online actions yet seen around the world and organised a web blackout on 18 January 2013.

Because of its success the Obama administration and allies designed a new series of actions which they tried to fast-track through Congress - so far unsuccessfully - of a trade group called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This is in addition to NAFTA and a trans-Atlantic free trade zone incorporating Europe.

Despite attempts in Australia to wake up activist and left organisations to demonstrate, write about, collaborate and influence the public as to the dangers of TPP, nothing has happened.

In the mean time, Congress in the USA is busy pushing through a bill which is about to remove net neutrality so that we will all be censored and pay more for internet service provisions if our service providers don't accept what the big multi-national organisations wish to control.

It really is time that the locals found out what is going on and understood what threats there are to what is left of our so-called democratic rights.

See these web pages:

Trans-Pacific Partnership

and all related linked sites.


My partner is 91 and I am 87. We are very fortunate in many respects, mainly concerning our physical and mental health.
We do not own a car and are fortunate enough to own our own house which we maintain in reasonable order - it doesn't get cleaned and vacuumed as much or as often as it probably needs - but it is tidy and clean enough so that when people visit us the house does not resemble a pig sty!

We do our own cooking and don't get any help for anything around the house including the garden, which is small, and when the grass needs mowing - which with our drought conditions doesn't happen as often as it used to when we moved to Melbourne from New South Wales 13 years ago - friends had given us an electric mower as a house warming gift and it has been a fantastic help!

The tram to the city is two corners away, there are two buses down the road, and if we need to, a train to the city is within a 25-minute walk from the house.

We have a post box at a post office which is now about 30 minutes' walk away - it used to be about 20 minutes in the old days! - and Preston Market is about a 25 minute walk each way and we do most of our food and grocery shopping once a week there - with a shopping trolley!

So, why worry about euthanasia?

Well, because we are the ages we now are, we have seen many friends and relatives dying of diseases which have caused untold pain and suffering and they have often died agonising deaths in terrible situations.

In the 1990s, when the AIDS epidemic was still at its height, we were both carers for people living with, and dying from AIDS-related diseases which were horrifying and frightening to witness - and to be part of the caring process for.

We are also aware that many doctors treating these patients were often in despair over how to alleviate the suffering of so many - mostly young - people at the time - mostly in their twenties and thirties - and when matters became desperate for the doctors and the patients, the patients often requested - and were helped with - euthanasia in one form or another.

At that time, from the mid 1980s to about 1997 when multiple therapies became available and converted inevitable death into a chronic but liveable condition, dozens of people with AIDS asked for and were given medications to hasten death.

If the people involved in these situations at the time had been prosecuted on the grounds of euthanasia - doctors, nurses, friends, relatives - the courts would have been over-crowded and the legal bills would have been inordinately large.

Authorities knew what was happening and chose to turn a blind eye to the events occurring virtually on a daily basis at the time.

We don't know what will happen to us in the time left to us, but we have done our best, under existing laws, to cover our requirements at the end of life period with such items as legal and medical powers of attorney and our requirements when life quality becomes unbearable and we feel we have had enough and don't want to suffer any longer.

We want euthanasia to be an option available to people in our circumstances and we support Dr Rodney Syme and Dying With Dignity Victoria and similar organisations and practitioners throughout the country.

Our politicians are cowards, and none have the guts to treat this matter as urgent and immediate.


Euthanasia Part 1

and links to the following parts: 2,3,4,5,6,7,8

23 April 2014


President Obama is holding secret meetings in Asia to ram through the TPP's Internet censorship plan, which would force ISPs to monitor our Internet use, censor content, and remove entire websites.
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This is urgent. An Internet censorship plan is being finalized in secret meetings right now. We need all hands on deck at this crucial moment.

Click HERE to learn more and  to join with RootsAction, OpenMedia, and other allies in speaking up.

Here's the situation: President Obama himself is in secretive meetings with key political figures and lobbyists in Asia to lock the Trans-Pacific Partnership's Internet censorship plan into place. 

We know from leaked documents that this secretive plan will censor your use of the Internet and strip away your rights.[1] If finalized, this plan would force ISPs to act as "Internet Police" monitoring our Internet use, censoring content, and removing whole websites.[2] 

It will give media conglomerates centralized control over what you can watch and share online.

We urgently need your help to fight back. Add your voice right now and we'll project a Stop the Secrecy message on key buildings in Washington D.C. to ensure Obama, the media, and everyone else knows this censorship plan must be stopped.

This is huge: covering 40% of the global economy, the TPP is being called a legal "blueprint" for the rest of the world.[3] Once key leaders finalize TPP Internet censorship plans, those plans will be used to globalize censorship. You will be affected and this may be our only chance to stop it.

Our attention-grabbing message will shine a light on their secret plan and will make clear to Washington lobbyists that the Internet community will never accept the TPP's secrecy or censorship. The more who speak out, the larger our projection will become, and the more people we can reach.

This is a decisive moment: we need to act right now. Join with hundreds of thousands of people all over the world to shine a light on the TPP's job-killing Internet censorship plan. Let's send decision-makers and the lobbyists pulling the strings a message they can't ignore: "Stop the secrecy now."

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[1] WikiLeaks: Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
[2] Electronic Frontier Foundation: TPP Creates Legal Incentives For ISPs To Police The Internet
[3] U.S. “Bullying” TPP Negotiators Amid Failure to Agree. Source: Inter Press Service News Agency.

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 Israel’s supporters seek to restrict the freedom of speech of America’s academics

Iymen Chehade
April 19, 2014 Updated: April 19, 2014 13:45:00

weekend eye
The Israeli occupation is not only a physical occupation of Palestine but it is also an occupation of the mind, specifically on college campuses in the United States. Pro-Israel supporters have sought to limit the discussion to frame the conflict to Americans in a particular way.
The growing success of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement(BDS) has alarmed pro-Israel supporters to the point that they have sought to restrict one of the most cherished American values, that of free speech.
Groups and individuals have targeted organisations and professors on university campuses around the US, seeking to intimidate them into silence. They have also pushed for legislation on the state and federal levels that would target the academic freedom of pro-Palestinian professors and universities.
As a historian of Palestine and as someone active in public policy around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I have personally witnessed and experienced these attempts at silencing. Most recently, my course at Chicago’s Columbia College was targeted.
In October 2013, I showed the Academy Award-nominated film Five Broken Cameras in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict course I teach. The film documents the weekly protests in the West Bank village of Bil’in. Since 2005, Israel has constructed a wall cutting through the village, stealing much of the land for Israeli settlers.
Shortly after showing the film to my class, I received an email from the Humanities History and Social Sciences Department requesting a 30-minute meeting with Dr Steven Corey, my chair, regarding a student concern.
At the meeting, I was informed by the chair that an unnamed student had said that I was “biased” for showing the film and counselled me on the need for “balance” in my class. “Balance” has been a frequent demand by Zionists to present Israel’s violent occupation of the Palestinians as somehow symmetric with Palestinian resistance.
When I asked why he did not ask the student to come to speak to me, he went on to say that when he was at college, he found a particular African-American professor to be unapproachable due to the anger he showed towards white students.
I pointed out to Corey that I was open to my students and I do not show hostility or anger based on students’ backgrounds or perspectives. He continued the conversation with a request for my college transcripts, stating that he wanted to “make sure that professors were teaching what they are supposed to be teaching” despite the fact that I have worked at Columbia for years and I am the one who designed and created the course.
A few days after the meeting and within two hours of registration beginning, one of the sections of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict course was eliminated.
The actions that the college took to remove the class are not surprising given the historic and continuous anti-Palestinian bias at Columbia and at other campuses around the United States.
That bias manifests itself in many ways, from the need for “balance” (a requirement not asked of professors covering other conflicts), to pressuring university departments to shut down discussion of the topic, to intimidation of academics who are not seen to follow the line.
Soon after the cancellation of the class, my union filed a grievance, claiming a violation of academic freedom. Columbia’s own statement on academic freedom ensures that “all faculty members are protected against institutional discipline or restraint in their discussion of relevant matters in the classroom, exploration of self-chosen avenues of scholarship, research and creative expression, and speaking and writing as public citizens.”
Not surprisingly the grievance was rejected, since the college itself decides on its own whether there was a breach of academic freedom.
Columbia is not the only place in America where anti-Palestinian bias is rampant. In March, a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine was suspended at Boston’s Northeastern University after members slipped mock eviction notices under dorm rooms to students to bring to light Israel’s continuous policy of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and the confiscation of their property.
In March, the SJP at Barnard College in New York put up a banner entitled Stand for Justice-Stand for Palestine as part of Israeli Apartheid Week, a global week of action supported by millions who are in solidarity with Palestine. Barnard College took down the banner yielding to pressure that it “inadvertently gave the impression that the College sanctions and supports these events”.
The pressure extends beyond universities. After the American Studies Association passed a resolution calling for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions in December of 2013, there has been a backlash by Zionists to pass bills on the federal and state levels that would punish universities if they or their faculty support a boycott of Israel.
In one of a series of bills proposed by lawmakers around the country, Illinois State Senate Bill 3017 would obstruct the academic freedom of universities and professors and impose the will of Zionists who are threatened by the growing movement to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel until it conforms to international law.
However, they are fighting in retreat. Despite the many attempts to deny Palestinians their voice, more than 7,000 people signed a petition to restore the second section of my class.
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) conducted an independent investigation and found that Columbia had violated my academic freedom.
As Dr Peter Kirstein states in the AAUP finding: “Professor Chehade has the academic freedom protection to present material in his own name in a course and articulate opinions in class.”
On March 31, Columbia College restored my class and I now have two sections in the autumn term. The Northeastern and Bernard SJPs have garnered thousands of supporters and Bill 3017 was withdrawn from the Illinois State Senate in April.
Supporters of Palestine are being heard, now more than ever in the United States. The BDS movement, in particular, has pushed back against the occupation and its supporters. There is also a greater awareness among supporters of Palestine of their ability to push back, and to organise. Without such widespread support, my voice, and in particular the ability of my students to gain a genuine education on the topic would have been silenced.
While there is an occupation in Palestine, there is also an occupation of the mind here in America.
Many Americans simply do not know the extent to which they are responsible for the subjugation of the Palestinians as a result of the financial, diplomatic and military support the US government provides to the state of Israel.
Thus, just as the Palestinians are resisting occupation in Palestine, there is growing American resistance to Israel’s criminal policies at academic and other institutions around the US.
In 2004, Palestinian civil society issued a call for the boycott, divestment, and sanctioning of the state of Israel until it complies with international law by ending the illegal occupation, providing full rights and equality for the Palestinians inside of Israel, and respecting the right of return for Palestinian refugees in accordance with United Nations Resolution 194.
The movement is growing in America, in Europe and in the Arab world. It is a true grassroots movement. But it is essential that governments, including Arab governments, are also part of this movement so that they are on the right side of history.
Iymen Chehade is a lecturer in Middle Eastern history at Columbia College in Chicago. He is active in the area of public policy and human rights regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict


17 April 2014


Israel's connections to many countries around the world are suspect to say the least, and the longer the connections exist the worse the outcomes will be in the end.

One of these strange connections is over the nuclear capacity of Israel. Long before the Vanunu incident in the 1980s when Vanunu went to the UK to reveal to the Guardian newspaper the extent of Israel's nuclear capabilities, Israel denied it had nuclear weapons or had developed any nuclear weapons capabilities.

Yet in 1979 when there was an identifiable nuclear explosion in the South Atlantic somewhere south of South Africa, there was conclusive evidence to provide the news that Israel and South Africa had colluded to build and explode a nuclear device. Apartheid South Africa had the uranium and the ability to make enriched uranium which is required for nuclear bombs, and Israel had the technological ability to manufacture and test such devices.

By the time Mordechai Vanunu left Israel, came to Australia, converted from Judaism to Christianity, and then left to go to the UK to reveal all to the Guardian and/or the New Statesman papers, the world had already understood that there was another nuclear power in the world, and this time in the middle of the Middle East.

The article in the Fairfax media during the week of 14 April 2014 discussing how much the Australian government knew and when they knew about the nuclear capabilities of Israel makes interesting but hardly revealing information.

16 April 2014


Australia still denies Israel's open secret of a nuclear arsenal

Article in Sydney Morning Herald April 15, 2014:

Phillip Dorling


Israel's nuclear program: did Australia know?

Previously secret diplomatic files declassified by the National Archives reveal a longstanding policy to turn a blind eye to Israel's nuclear arsenal. Last week the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade again declined to comment on whether the Australian government thinks Israel is an undeclared nuclear weapons state.
Foreign Affairs Department briefing papers prepared for former Labor foreign minister Bill Hayden in 1987 state that ''intelligence assessments are that Israel has a small arsenal of nuclear weapons (possibly about 20). Israel's technological capabilities would enable it confidently to deploy such weapons without recourse to a nuclear test.''

Former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans has publicly described Israel as one of 'nine nuclear-armed states' committed to the 'indefinite retention' of their arsenals. Photo: Peter Rae

In a confidential exchange with International Atomic Energy Agency chief Hans Blix on September 22, 1987, Mr Hayden ''commented that there appeared no doubt that Israel had nuclear weapons''.
Mr Hayden and Dr Blix were talking against the backdrop of the treason trial of Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear technician who in 1986 disclosed detailed evidence of Israel's nuclear weapons production. The Foreign Affairs Department advised Mr Hayden to publicly deny knowledge of Israel's nuclear weapons capabilities. Mr Hayden told Parliament on September 17, 1987: ''We have no information to corroborate these allegations.''
However, Foreign Affairs' files, declassified in response to applications by Fairfax Media, reveal that Australia had been monitoring Israel's nuclear program from its beginnings in the 1950s.
Australia scooped US and British intelligence when in 1966 its Atomic Energy Commission obtained ''highly sensitive'' information from the French builders of Israel's Dimona nuclear facility, revealing the existence of a chemical processing plant to extract plutonium from spent reactor fuel.
By 1970 Australia's Joint Intelligence Organisation thought ''Israel could have some weapons''.
Australian policy remains unchanged, with the Abbott government deciding last October not to support a UN General Assembly resolution on nuclear proliferation in the Middle East - 169 countries voted for the resolution. Only five - the US, Israel, Canada, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia - voted against. Australia abstained.
Former foreign minister Professor Gareth Evans has long been closely engaged with nuclear disarmament issues. Last month he publicly described Israel as one of ''nine nuclear-armed states'' committed to the ''indefinite retention'' of their arsenals.
On Monday Professor Evans declined to explain why Australia had not acknowledged the existence of an Israeli nuclear weapons program, saying only: ''The whole world hasn't acknowledged it. I mean, this is the strange thing, but that's another story for another day.''

15 April 2014


This work of art by Michael Leunig appeared in the Saturday Age Spectrum section on 29 March 2014


Joe Hockey wants to alter the age pension. He wants to increase pension age from 65 to 70.

Many people, because of the nature of the work they have done ovcr their lifetimes are unable to work till they drop!

Joe Hockey, like others before him, refuses to tax religions.

The main reason of course is that so many of the likes of Hockey belong to religions which have never had to pay tax and are, of course, inordinately wealthy.

If religions were to be taxed, governments would lose their votes - or would they?

Considering what some of the largest religions of this country have done to some of their younger parishioners - and got away with - and not had to pay for their misdeeds - it is a disgrace that governments have not imposed taxes on them.

Instead, governments of all persuasions deem it easier to scapegoat the poorest and most vulnerable members of the community and lower their incomes, one way or another, to increase their budgets.

Do they increase taxes to the already fabulously wealthy? Of course not!

It is time voters showed governments that they mean business when they tell them to tax the wealthy - and religions - but too many of the voting public seem to be fearful and intimidated by those in power.

...........and what is desperately needed is for taxes on alcoholic drinks to be magnified, durgs to be legalised and taxed, and governments to wake up to themselves and start actually governing!



11 April 2014


Bob Carr has been involved in politics for many years.

His political posts have been long and varied and he has been an environment minister in a New South Wales government as well as having been Premier of that state for many years.

After he left NSW politics and Julia Gillard was the Australian Prime Minister, when there was a vacancy as Foreign Minister Gillard invited Carr to take the post which he seems to have done with alacrity.

Of course it all came to a tearful end when Kevin Rudd dumped Gillard and the Australian Labor Party (ALP) lost government to the Coalition in September 2013.

Carr is not renowned as being a left-wing member of the ALP - rather he is right of Genghis Khan in keeping with the 2014 version of the ALP.

In Australia there are approximately 100,000 to 120,000 Jews. This is not a tight-knit community, but by and large the majority are supporters of the apartheid Israeli state.

There are many christian communities in Australia and many of them are christian zionists. It is my belief that those christians around the world who support apartheid Israel do so from an anti-semitic point of view because they would like to help Jews living in their communities to go and settle in apartheid Israel.

Those who were the original supporters of Palestine as a home for the Jews, dating from well before the first world war and the Balfour Declaration, back to the 19th century, and who supported the early zionists looking for Palestine to be the Jewish homeland, were christian politicians in England who were eager to remove Jews from Britain.

What has all this got to do with Bob Carr?

Carr has just published a diary of his years as the foreign minister of Australia, and in the book he relates how the Jewish lobby in Australia exerts an undue amount of influence over government foreign policy in relation to apartheid Israel, particularly such bodies as the Australia-Israel Jewish Affairs Council.

For once in Carr's life he is correct and has hit a bullseye!

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and there have been hysterical outcries from members of the Abbott government's ministers, particularly the current foreign minister Julie Bishop, and many others including, of course, the Jewish members of the current opposition ALP parliamentary representatives, and also including the so-called christian members of both sides of politics - if they can be defined as such.

But the Jewish communities - or many members of these so-called communities are beside themselves and the cries of anti-semitism are probably soon to be on their way.

This story has a way to run but it has created an interesting diversion from the horror of Australian politics relating to such issues as asylum seekers and other nasty stories which are breaking out on both sides of the so-called political divide.

Watch these spaces - more interesting events are bound to unfold in the coming days and weeks!

The following article is from Mondoweiss on 10 April 2014 and is by Philip Weiss. It is very helpful to know what has been happening in Australia in the media and from those Jews who belong to some of the organisations under discussion.

Aussie media focus on Carr’s assertion that Israel lobby had ‘direct line’ into Prime Minister’s office

Philip Weiss on April 10, 2014

Former Australian PM Julia Gillard
Yesterday I did a short post on the stunning criticism of the Israel lobby’s influence in Australia coming from a former Australian foreign minister, Bob Carr, whose memoir says that Jewish donors so preyed on the mind of a liberal prime minister that she wouldn’t let him utter a word of criticisms against Israeli settlements.

Well, sunshine is the best disinfectant, and this story just gets bigger and bigger. It’s in Haaretz (my postscript); and the Australian media are taking seriously Carr’s assertions that the lobby’s influence is “unhealthy” and that it has too much access to policymakers. The story has been propelled by lobby charges of bigotry against Carr, who trots out the usual; he recommended a Holocaust book as the most important book of the last 100 years in a book he wrote about reading. And by the fact that Carr published text messages between himself and former P.M. Julia Gillard.

First, Carr states his case plainly in an interview on Australian Broadcasting Corp. He says it’s the rightwing lobby, and that it’s banjaxed Australian opposition to the settlement project:

SARAH FERGUSON: Let’s go to the book. The strongest criticism of all in the book is aimed at the Melbourne Jewish lobby. Now, there are lobby groups for every cause under the sun. What’s wrong with the way that group operates?
BOB CARR: Well the important point about a diary of a Foreign minister is that you shine light on areas of government that are otherwise in darkness and the influence of lobby groups is one of those areas. And what I’ve done is to spell out how the extremely conservative instincts of the pro-Israel lobby in Melbourne was exercised through the then-Prime Minister’s office. And I speak as someone who was in agreement with Julia Gillard’s agenda on everything else. But I’ve got to say, on this one, I found it very frustrating that we couldn’t issue, for example, a routine expression of concern about the spread of Israeli settlements on the West Bank. Great blocks of housing for Israeli citizens going up on land that everyone regards as part of a future Palestinian state, if there is to be a two-state solution resolving the standoff between Palestinians and Israelis in the Middle East.
SARAH FERGUSON: You’re saying that the Melbourne Jewish lobby had a direct impact on foreign policy as it was operated from inside Julia Gillard’s cabinet?
BOB CARR: Yeah, I would call it the Israeli lobby – I think that’s important. But certainly they enjoyed extraordinary influence. I had to resist it and my book tells the story of that resistance coming to a climax when there was a dispute on the floor of caucus about my recommendation that we don’t block the Palestinian bid for increased non-state status at the United Nations.
SARAH FERGUSON: They’re still a very small group of people. How do you account for them wielding so much power?
BOB CARR: I think party donations and a program of giving trips to MPs and journalists to Israel. But that’s not to condemn them. I mean, other interest groups do the same thing. But it needs to be highlighted because I think it reached a very unhealthy level. I think the great mistake of the pro-Israel lobby in Melbourne is to express an extreme right-wing Israeli view rather than a more tolerant liberal Israeli view, and in addition to that, to seek to win on everything, to block the Foreign Minister of Australia through their influence with the Prime Minister’s office, from even making the most routine criticism of Israeli settlement policy using the kind of language that a Conservative Foreign secretary from the UK would use in a comparable statement at the same time.
Note that Carr is saying precisely what Walt and Mearsheimer wrote eight years ago and were also accused of bigotry for saying: It’s not Jews, it’s the lobby, which represents a conservative segment of that community; and the lobby has a “stranglehold” on our foreign policy.
Carr knew what he was saying would be explosive. Maybe that’s why he published diary entries verbatim, and text messages that he exchanged with Julia Gillard, showing the penetration of the lobby into decisionmaking about the Middle East.
“The book would not have been truthful with this disagreement between a prime minister and her foreign minister edited out,” Mr Carr told Fairfax Media, explaining his decision to publish Ms Gillard’s private text messages without consent, despite asking other officials for permission to publish correspondence.
“The public should know how foreign policy gets made, especially when it appears the prime minister is being heavily lobbied by one interest group with a stake in Middle East policy.”…
In diary entries Mr Carr reveals just how deep his division with Ms Gillard went. He complains that Ms Gillard would not even let him criticise Israeli West Bank settlements due to her fear it would anger Australia’s pro-Israel lobby – a reference to the Melbourne-based Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council – which Mr Carr says had a direct line into the prime minister’s office.
“So, we can’t even ‘express concern’ without complaint,” Mr Carr writes. “This lobby must fight every inch.”
Reproducing private text messages, Mr Carr suggests Ms Gillard’s support of Israel was so immovable that she would not even allow him to change Australia’s vote on what he considered to be a minor UN motion.
“Julia – motion on Lebanon oil spill raises no Palestinian or Israel security issues. In that context I gave my commitment to Lebanon,” Mr Carr writes in a text message.
“No reason has been given to me to change,” Ms Gillard reportedly replies.
“Julia – not so simple,” Mr Carr responds. “I as Foreign Minister gave my word. I was entitled to because it had nothing to do with Palestinian status or security of Israel.”
Ms Gillard shuts him down in a final terse message: “Bob … my jurisdiction on UN resolutions isn’t confined to ones on Palestine and Israel.”
Did you see where Carr said that the Israel lobby has a direct line into the P.M.’s office? Now read some of this interview on ABC of a leading Israel lobbyistMark Leibler, national chairman of the Australia-Israel and Jewish Affairs Council. ABC interviewer Tony Jones is obviously disturbed that he had such access to the P.M.

MARK LEIBLER: I think Bob doesn’t miss a trick. I mean, if anything’s calculated to sell books. Just unpick for a moment what he’s saying. He’s talking about the Jewish lobby, he’s talking about a difference of opinion between him and the Prime Minister. Why can’t they have a difference of opinion on a matter related to Israeli policy? No, if there’s a difference of opinion, the Prime Minister has to be controlled or influenced by someone. So the Prime Minister has to be wrong ’cause she’s controlled by the Jewish lobby. …
TONY JONES: Let me ask you a very simple question: did you have direct access to Julia Gillard when she was Prime Minister and were you able to express serious concerns to her directly about policy over Israel?
MARK LEIBLER: We had – I had opportunities to talk to the Prime Minister on -not only about Israel – I had more contact with her about indigenous issues than I did in relation to Israel. She very quickly formed her own view and I didn’t see that there was any need for me to intervene.
TONY JONES: OK, but I guess what you’re saying is on a reasonably regular basis you were able to talk to her about concerns that you had, is that correct?
MARK LEIBLER: If I wanted to raise concerns, I would have been able to raise them with her, as I was able to raise them with Kevin Rudd, with John Howard, with Paul Keating, with Bob Hawke and even with Malcolm Fraser. No different.
TONY JONES: So what you’re saying is you get a fair bit of access to prime ministers and have had for a long time, but …
TONY JONES: … you’re arguing there’s nothing sinister about that?
MARK LEIBLER: Absolutely. By the way, I’m not unique in that respect. I mean, there are many other people who have far greater access to prime ministers, present and past, than I do, but that’s part of a democracy.
TONY JONES: No doubt. But your role as a lobbyist is well-known, so well-known that the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, described you recently as a key fundraiser for the lobby and the man who maintained close relations with prime ministers, both in Australia and Israel, over many years. Do you see yourself as a kind of go-between between the Israeli Government and Australian prime ministers?
MARK LEIBLER: Absolutely not. I mean, there are excellent relations between the Prime Minister of Australia, both the current one and the former one, and the Prime Minister of Israel. They don’t need any intermediaries.
TONY JONES: Yeah. I guess no-one here is saying there’s anything to be ashamed of, but the problem only arises when the former Foreign minister claims that the influence of the lobby was very unhealthy…. Well, when you actually get to read the book, what you’ll find out is that he recalls… a private meeting in the boardroom of Arnold Bloch Leibler, which you chaired before that breakfast meeting – in other words, the day before – in which he says you addressed him with a “how-dare-you” tone – this is how he puts it – a “how-dare-you” tone over these issues, particularly the issue of whether there should be enhanced Palestinian representation in the United Nations.
MARK LEIBLER: Well, that is – unfortunately, that doesn’t – that just didn’t happen. I mean, the meeting took place, and I must say, we had our differences of opinion, but the main purpose of the meeting was for me to get across the message to him that we were no right-wing extremists, that our views were identical to all mainstream Jewish organisations, and that as far as the settlements are concerned, there were legitimate differences within the Jewish community and within Israel in relation to settlements being an obstacle to peace. But what – if I can put it in a nutshell, what all of the Jewish community organisations objected to was a single-minded focus on settlements, as if, you know, stopping settlement activity would suddenly lead to peace, overlooking the fact that Hamas was lobbing rockets into Israel at the time, that – I can go through a whole series of things, but – it’s complicated.
TONY JONES: Sure. But let me just take you back to this meeting, ’cause what he focuses here is, as I said before, what he described as your ”how-dare-you” tone, as in, as he puts it, “How dare you consider voting to allow the Palestinians to have greater representation or enhanced representation at the United Nations.” Now, I suppose what he’s saying is that there are two different Mark Leiblers – there’s the one behind the scenes and then there’s the public one at that breakfast meeting with a more conciliatory tone which he obviously appreciated.
MARK LEIBLER: Well, all I can say is that his recollection of that meeting does not accord with my recollection of that meeting. Yes, by the way, it was a heated discussion, but I wasn’t hectoring him and I wasn’t lecturing him, but I was explaining very clearly where we differed and where we agreed and that set the basis and led to the tone of what was, I think, a very successful meeting. He was delighted with it and very pleased with it….
TONY JONES: Sure. Do you think – let’s put it this way: do you think you have considerably more influence over Australian prime ministers than, say, for example, Palestinian representatives?
MARK LEIBLER: I really don’t know. They don’t take me to their meetings.
TONY JONES: (Laughs) No, I don’t imagine they do… Mark Leibler, just finally, to make the final point, it’s a pretty obvious one, really: I suppose what you’re saying to Bob Carr is that you will continue to speak when you can to prime ministers and Foreign ministers and proffer advice from this lobby that he describes.
MARK LEIBLER: Well, I would hope that that’s how things are supposed to function in a democracy. I mean, there are other places where when you express your views or try to lobby, you end up in jail or you end up being shot. This is part of the hallmark of Australia’s wonderful democracy and it’s something that everyone can participate in.
TONY JONES: And just to finish the point, do you think you will get the same access or even more to the Tony Abbott Government that you got with the Julia Gillard Government?
MARK LEIBLER: Well, when we’ve got an issue which is a serious one which needs to be raised, we haven’t had a problem in getting access to either ALP or Liberal prime ministers or Foreign ministers and so it should be. By the way, we’re not the only ones. Basically, any representative of a community organisation, if they’ve got something serious to raise, they’ll get the access that they need.
TONY JONES: Mark Leibler, we’ll have to leave you there. Thank you very much for coming to join us live on the program tonight.
MARK LEIBLER: My pleasure.
Amazing. In the full interview, you will see that Liebler says that many Jews oppose settlements, but what all Jewish organizations “objected to was a single-minded focus on settlements, as if, you know, stopping settlement activity would suddenly lead to peace.” The same line that almost all major Jewish orgs took on Obama in 2009-2011.
But I’m stunned that Carr has been able to blow a bridge that Jimmy Carter, James Baker, Colin Powell, Paul Findley and Walt and Mearsheimer could not blow: the mainstream bar on talking about this stuff.
So, when is this story going to make “60 Minutes”? I guess they’ll think about that tomorrow, to quote Scarlett O’Hara.
P.S. Haaretz has covered the story with these blunt headlines: “Former Australian FM denounces Jewish lobby’s ‘extraordinary influence’. In new book, Bob Carr claims office of former Australian PM Julia Gillard was effectively held hostage by Jewish lobby.”
Haaretz calls out the Greater Israel crowd: “Carr claims the ‘extreme right-wing’ pro-Israel lobby in Melbourne wielded ‘extraordinary influence’ on Gillard” — who is of course a liberal politician.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 17 comments... read them below or add one }

1.                          unverified__5ilf90kd says:
It is obvious that we have exactly the same chronic problem in the USA only worse. It is clearly at play from Obama all the way down the food chain. The pressure to change the fact that Kerry recently blamed Israel for the breakdown in the peace talks, is the latest example of this money machine in action to suppress, distort and change the truth. These crude and deceitful activities are a threat to democracy all over the world. Let’s pray that the effect of Bob Carr’s exposure of the lobby in Australia will encourage others, including journalists, that there are positive and rewarding reasons to continue this exposure of foreign policy distortions caused by money from the Israeli lobby in many counties especially the USA, UK, France and Australia to name but a few.
2.                          hophmi says:
“But I’m stunned that Carr has been able to blow a bridge that Jimmy Carter, James Baker, Colin Powell, Paul Findley and Walt and Mearsheimer could not blow: the mainstream bar on talking about this stuff.”
Since this bridge never existed in the first place, there was nothing to blow.
3.                          Sumud says:
(Concurrent events for two quoted articles below from late June 2010:
May 31, 2010 – really shocking Israeli raid on humanitarian flotilla to Gaza killing 9 activists and injuring more than 50.
June 24, 2010 – leadership spill and Julia Gillard ousts Kevin Rudd as PM.)
Recall that PM Julia Gillard’s partner Tim Mathieson, formerly a hairdresser, was employed in late 2009 by a leading Australian Israel lobbyist Albert Dadon:
Ms Gillard had disclosed to the register of MPs’ interests that Mr Mathieson started work with Ubertas in November 2009. In June 2009, she and Mr Mathieson had led other Australian politicians, including Liberals Christopher Pyne and Peter Costello, in Jerusalem at the first Australia Israel Leadership Forum.
At a second forum in December 2009, also addressed by Kevin Rudd, she acknowledged Mr Dadon and his wife for their support of the forum.

A former Australian ambassador to Israel, Ross Burns, had accused Ms Gillard in a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald of being silent on the ”excesses” of Israel and questioned why Mr Mathieson had been given the job by Mr Dadon.
”I’ve made up my own views about
Israel and made them publicly known well before there was any suggestion that my partner would work in a property group associated with Mr Dadon,” Ms Gillard said.
Mathieson resigned from his position with Dadon’s company later in 2010 apparently.
Most of the article from one day prior to above outlining Ross Burn’s concerns about Gillard’s and the governments position on Israel:
Ms Gillard has been part of the Australian delegation to the last two meetings of the Australia Israel Leadership Forum, founded by the Melbourne property developer Albert Dadon.
Mr Dadon employs Ms Gillard’s partner, Tim Mathieson, as a real estate salesman, at Ubertas. Mr Burns said yesterday that Ms Gillard was at the forum’s inaugural meeting in
Israel last June, six months after the Israeli army invaded the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1000 Palestinians.
She was also the acting prime minister when the invasion took place, and issued a statement at the time criticising the Palestinian group Hamas for firing rockets into southern
Israel. It did not condemn Israel for causing civilian casualties.
The former prime minister, Kevin Rudd, and the Foreign Affairs Minister, Stephen Smith, have since expressed unease at the subsequent blockade of
Gaza by Israel.
”It looks a bit funny when you go on this tour to promote bilateral relations, but you don’t seem to have any reservations about the issue that was number one on the horizon,” Mr Burns said.
Another former Australian ambassador to Tel Aviv, Peter Rodgers, who served in the Israeli capital from 1994 to 1997, also criticised the government’s attitude towards
He said last night that under successive governments,
Australia’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had become increasingly unbalanced, and that this was unlikely to change under Ms Gillard’s stewardship.
”There’s been a marked swing away from the old attempt to be even-handed on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to a much more determined pro-Israeli position, and I think Gillard is part of that,” Mr Rodgers said.
The Herald sought comments from Ms Gillard, Michael Danby, a prominent Jewish federal MP – and a supporter of Ms Gillard in last week’s leadership coup – and Mr Dadon for this article, but received no response.
o                                               lysias says:
Didn’t the Aussie Israel lobby play a big role in deposing Kevin Rudd as PM and replacing him with Gillard? (Not to downplay the also important U.S. influence to the same effect.)
§                                                                    Sumud says:
I heard rumours to that effect lysias but don’t know of anything substantial.
Earlier in 2010 Rudd’s government was vocally critical of Israel after it was discovered that 4 Australian passports had been stolen and used in the murder of the Hamas guy in Dubai, from memory Rudd changed an Australian I/P related vote at the UN from a NO to ABSTAIN. Also Mossad’s station chief in Australai was expelled. Other than that he was consistently pro-Israel.
After being deposed, he went to a BDS-targetted Max Brenner here in Melbourne with Danby and various other pro-Israel jewish politicians (and the media) to have a hot chocolate and tell the community that BDS was comparable to the nazi boycott of jewish business in pre-war Germany. That struck me as a very odd thing to do …you could interpret it as a mea culpa of sorts, but without inside information it remains speculation.
§                                                                    Shingo says:
Yes Lysias,
I heard reports that Rudd’s denunciation of Israel’s actions against the Mavi Marmara started the ball rolling.
§                                                                                        Sumud says:
Sounds like Rudd was rather more pissed at Israel (then conciliatory) in the first half of 2010 than I realised:
The UN vote that Rudd changed from a NO to ABSTAIN was calling for action against Israel over their bloodbath in Gaza in 2008/9. I wonder if that can of worms will be re-opened if Abbas goes to the ICC?
§                                                                    RoHa says:
The standard story is that opposition to the mining tax was the main influence behind the dumping of Nice Mr. Rudd. However, when we put together Rudd’s actions (expelling a diplomat) over Israel’s misuse of Australian passports, the fact that Danby was one of the traitors running to the US embassy to blab about cabinet discussions, the fact that the US can’t blow its nose without Israeli permission, and the fact that The Very Wonderful Julia “no carbon tax” Gillard was living with an agent for Israel (how direct a line do you want?), some of us feel that our suspicions about Israeli lobby involvement are at least as justifiable as the inordinate length of this sentence.
4.                          thankgodimatheist says:
Pulling the wool over our eyes, Mr Leibler, have you no sense of decency (and I will not talk of shame)?
5.                          Shingo says:
But I’m stunned that Carr has been able to blow a bridge that Jimmy Carter, James Baker, Colin Powell, Paul Findley and Walt and Mearsheimer could not blow: the mainstream bar on talking about this stuff.
While I too am a little surprise Phil, it’s not that big a shock. The social and political culture in Australia isn’t like the US. There has always been a healthy contempt and cynicism for those in power. That makes it much more difficult for the ruling class to frame the debate or act as gatekeepers.
As a consequence, the Israeli lobby has to be far more subtle and keep a far lower profile here than AIPAC’s vulgar displays. In fact, I was not even aware of obvious Zionist organizations until I went to the gym the other day and saw a water bottle someone had left behind with a Zionist organization label on it.
Israel is not sacrosanct here, and I believe that it’s approval is in the negative digits. Bear in mind that Miko Peled was also invited to Canberra to address a conference with politician from both sides and given a very warm welcome.
Also, don’t forget that the ABC recently produced that superb document earth, Stone Cold Justice.
o                                               Krauss says:
Shorter Shingo: Australia is a great country.
I tend to agree.
§                                                                    Shingo says:
Shorter Shingo: Australia is a great country.
That’s a matter of opinion, but the social attitudes here are less tolerant of elitism and less prone to hero worship. Russel Crowe complained that it was something he disliked about Australia – that it doesn’t revere it’s leaders enough.
6.                          Mayhem says:
This talk of ‘over-influential’ Jews reminds us vividly of what happened in Nazi Germany.
o                                               Sumud says:
Unlike Israel – and nazi Germany – all Australians have full equal rights, none are denied the vote and discrimination (racial, religious, other) is prohibited by law.
Unlike Israel – and nazi Germany – we do not invade foreign countries transferring our citizens into overseas settlements, plunder the occupied territories and commit multiple instances of war crimes and crimes against humanity against the occupied population.
Take a look in the mirror Mayhem, try to be honest.
That you would equate discussion of a visible lobby group for a foreign country with naziism and the holocaust reflects your unhinged mental state, but not a lot more.
§                                                                    red-jos says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
Like Israel – and Nazi Germany – not all Australians have equal rights, and the plight of the indigenous communities is a national and international disgrace.
Australia, together with the USA, UK and other imperial powers invades foreign countries transferring our citizens into overseas settlements, plundering occupied territories – think Bouganville and other places around the Pacific region, and commit endless instances of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The Israel lobby in Australia run by Jews, many of whose families were Holocaust survivors, are Australian citizens working for a foreign country’s interests – Israel’s – so, are they Australians or Israelis, and if their sympathies are with apartheid Israel why don’t they go and live there?
Mannie De Saxe
7.                          Ellen says:
Both Julia Gillard and (take a deep breath) Ayann Hirsi Ali will be speaking at Maryville University in St. Louis under the St. Louis Speakers Series.
It does not take too much imagination to understand the real purpose of this speakers series. (Just look at the line up of their speakers.)
Both these ladies should speak. Hopefully there will be opportunity for public dialogue.
8.                          straightline says:
This from the aftermath of the firing of Rudd and installation of Gillard:
Note the quote from that other Jerusalem Prize winner Greg Sheridan – Foreign Editor of the Australian. And this:
‘She wants to be Australia’s first female prime minister and she knows that means currying favour with the Jews’.” (Australia renews its love affair with Israel, Dan Goldberg, thejc.com, 10/12/09)
Jews amount to 0.3% of the Australian population. Muslims on the other hand comprise 2.2% of the population and their number is increasing.
9.                          Pixel says:
American Jewish Committee builds Israel lobby in Europe



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