By Vacy Vlazna
'These matters do not in any way detract from our overall position - that we fiercely, unequivocally, strongly oppose BDS.' -- Bob Carr, Foreign Minister of Australia, 13 September 2012.
On reading, Baroud's "Growing Isolation: Boycott of Israel Crosses to Governments' Realm" wherein he describes the growing worldwide trend of support by civil society and governments for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel's brutal occupation of Palestine, one is immediately struck by the stark disparity of morals on the matter of Palestine between South Africa and Australia.
In Australia, a derogatory slang expression for a fool is 'galah'. The galah is a parrot which, in captivity, can be trained to speak simple phrases. Accordingly,(bar a handful of politicians with a conscience) the Australian government and its opposition in Canberra have, for decades, been well trained in Israeli hasbara (propaganda) - crowing on and on about the unique and special relationship between Australia and Israel while flapping and squawking about the BDS activity by concerned Australians.
On the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence, then Prime Minister (PM) Rudd introduced a motion that parliament:
"remember with pride and honour the important role which Australia played in the establishment of the State of Israel as both a member state of the United Nations and as an influential voice in the introduction of Resolution 181 which facilitated Israel's statehood, and as the country which proudly became the first to cast a vote in support of Israel's creation"
No elaboration was made that the 'influential voice' belonged to the despotic, arrogant and uncouth Deputy PM, Attorney General and Minister for External Affairs, Dr H.V. Evatt. His advocacy of the racist White Australia policy, his support of the apartheid regime of South African Nationalist Party, his dismissive view of Arabs, "We Australians, who fought in Egypt [Evatt never fought], have nothing but contempt for the Gyppos", his Zionist loyalties plus his ambition to be president of the UNGA, gravely question Evatt's biased role on the UN Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) and the subsequent Ad-Hoc Committee that recommended the partition of Palestine.
No mention either by PM Rudd that the UN had no authority to partition any foreign land and in particular Palestine which was a Mandate A territory held IN TRUST until its independence as stipulated in Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations which remains binding to this day.
Rudd went on irrationally to: "commend the State of Israel's commitment to democracy, the Rule of Law and pluralism" ..
blithely turning a blind eye to Israel's apartheid regime and its systematic violations of Palestinian human, political and civil rights condemned in multiple UN resolutions automatically rebuked as unfair criticism of Israel by Julie Bishop, Deputy leader of the Opposition, "At the United Nations Australia has long fought to end the institutional discrimination against the state of Israel, as evidenced by our response to the 2001 Durban antiracism conference. When in government the coalition was consistent in opposing one-sided United Nations resolutions against Israel, choosing not to sacrifice long-held foreign policy values in pursuit of temporary gain."
On cue, Israel's pet galahs rail against just criticism of Israeli violence against Palestinians. As Israel's heinous war crimes were unleashed on trapped and defenceless Gazan families during Operation Cast Lead, acting PM Julia Gillard, with decisive myopia to Israel's breach of the ceasefire, screeched the humdrum hasbara of Israel's right to defend itself. Then on the 5th November 2009, Australia cited the 'flawed nature' of the Goldstone Report that set out Israel's war crimes and voted against it being sent to the Security Council. It was adopted by a vote of 114-18.
Bishop's move to condemn BDS in the Federal Parliament and her blasting of BDS actions against the Max Brenner shops as "provocative, counterproductive and highly discriminatory actions" was praised by fellow parliamentarian and Zionist, Michael Danby who cynically played the Nazi hasbara card: - "I think that is because, as the member for Blair knows, deeply etched in Australia's memory are those black-and-white films of the Nazi boycott of Jewish commerce in 1930s Germany." He smartly rounded up sham-conditioned politicians Kevin Rudd, Stephen Conroy, and Wayne Swan to join him in a Brenner's hot chocolate. Rudd duly squawked "I am here because I object to the boycotting of Jewish businesses".
No one heard a squeak from Danby et al, when a few months later, Israelis themselves held boycotts against the Strauss group, parent company of Max Brenner. But then the outraged Israelis were protesting, not Strauss' support of the vicious Golani and Givati brigades or Strauss' Zionist affiliations, but for the grand injustice that prices of Strauss candy were higher in Israel that in the USA.
The same Ms Bishop, the good galah she is, energetically joined in the Australian Zionist-led vitriolic attacks against Greens Party, Lee Rhiannon as well as Greens Councillors who ethically supported Marrickville Council's BDS position. Joseph Makim commented,
"It is ironic that the Greens candidates who dared to take a moral and non-violent stand against the Israeli occupation have copped the wrath of those who carry the political whips. Labels such as extremist, anti-Semitic and Nazi have been used as an emotional weapon to deride the lunatic left and mask many sobering facts. The antidote to a perceived vilification of Zionists appears to be to the vilification of the individual."
Even though Australia purports to "firmly believe the establishment of an independent and economically viable Palestinian state must remain a key objective in the Middle East peace process", when the Palestinian bid for admission to the UN arose in September 2011, PM Gillard stated that her government would "consider it carefully and will consult widely before making our decision" which in Gillard-speak means whistling the Israeli and US tune of "direct negotiation is the only true path to peace." In October, under Gillard, Australia voted with Israel and the US against Palestine's admission to UNESCO that gave Palestine a tad of sovereign validity.
Most likely, for her impeccable parroting, a forest on stolen Beduin land will be named after Gillard, as were forests named after PMs Menzies, Hawke and Howard. (see Karkar's 'Howard's dubious Jewish National Fund honor')
Flying in the face of majority public disapprobation of Israel and amassing pro-BDS support, on 13 September 2012, Bob Carr, Gillard's new foreign minister regurgitated, in no uncertain terms, the government's opposition to BDS: "These matters do not in any way detract from our overall position - that we fiercely, unequivocally, strongly oppose BDS."
In effect, saying that the government's overall position - is that it fiercely, unequivocally, strongly supports Israel's impunity to violate international law and violate the human rights of the people of Palestine through its illegal and oppressive occupation, its illegal colony expansion, its illegal Apartheid wall and policies, its war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Unlike the quest for true and pure leadership in din-Attar's 'Conference of the Birds', the galahs of Canberra abnegate the dignity and humanity of independent governance for the dirty pragmatism of close Israeli and US ties.
- Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.