Not happy – update

It seems events have overtaken my ability to keep up. To summarise, last Thursday, in this article, Margo Kingston said:

“The fundamentalist Zionist lobby controls politics and the media in the US and Australia.”

Even people whose opinions I regularly find distasteful, such as Murdoch columnists Andrew Bolt and Janet Albrechtsen, stuck the boot into Kingston and the Herald for publishing this blatantly anti-Semitic remark. Albrechtsen’s constant Muslim bashing is particularly nauseating, but in our supposedly Zionist-dominated media, it’s extremely rare to find any other discussion of the bizarrely disproportionate number of UN resolutions critical of Israel, compared to other — and often more egregious — human rights abusers.

Kingston has since published detailed apologies and explanations, the gist of which being (a) she was only referring to the Israel-Palestine issue, not in general, and (b) “control” was too strong a word. Kingston removed the offending remark from her original post. I’m very pleased to see Kingston has at least taken the opportunity to develop her understanding of Zionism and now refers specifically to “fundamentalist Zionists”.

However, if The Australian‘s Media section is to be believed, it’s not the only thing offensive remark Margo published and removed on the issue. According to this article, Kingston also said:

“Far from protecting Jewish people against future atrocities, the Fundamentalist Zionist lobby is actually promoting anti-Semitism by its actions and tactics. Neither major party in either country is game to protest, because the power of the lobby is such that careers can be ruined.”

This comment, The Oz claims, was also removed, but Kingston has so far not discussed if this comment was ever posted, or removed.

Well Margo, who’s full of shit: The Oz, or you?

In this mercurial world of online publishing it’s all too easy to claim someone posted something and then removed it. And your evidence? Well it’s not there, is it?! And there’s no love of the Herald in general and Kingston in particular over at The Oz. Then again, this comment doesn’t sound entirely out of place with much of Kingston’s other remarks on the topic and the writing style is spot on. If it’s a fake, it’s a very good one.

Meanwhile, Webdiarist Jack Robertson has posted this furious rant about how critics of Israel are called anti-Semites by the good old Zionist lobby and “diaspora Zionists” like Bolt, and challenging his critics to discuss these issues with him face to face.

It brings me to tears with frustration. Yes, the anti-Semite accusation is used as a tactic by some to divert attention away from an argument that’s hard to discuss rationally. But for cryin’ out loud, Margo, Jack, Antony, and your mates (yes, you too Alan), why give them so much ammunition?!

You know what? It’s possible to make forceful arguments in favour of Palestinian rights and/or critical of the Israeli government without:

  • calling into question Israel’s right to exist
  • complaining about the sinister Zionist lobby in Protocols of the Elders of Zion terms
  • tarring all Jews with, for want of a better phrase, a fundamentalist Zionist brush
  • calling Jews racists or comparing them to Nazis
  • ascribing moral equivalence of Israel’s actions with those of terrorists or Nazis
  • claiming Israel takes advantage of guilt about the Holocaust to justify morally repugnant actions
  • apologising for or justifying terrorism — by which I mean the deliberate targeting and killing civilians as they go about their lives, whichever side they’re on
  • ignoring all contextual or historical information that might weaken your argument

If you honestly don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a short guide, and yes it’s a highly subjective one. No doubt it will be read as yet another example of the Zionist lobby attempting to control the terms of the debate, blah blah blah. Get over it.

Green is something I would say and have no objection if someone else said it. There are still those who would label me a traitor or a self-hating Jew for saying some of these things, but there are also plenty, even within the Jewish community, who wouldn’t. Amber means something I wouldn’t say, and don’t agree with. It is most likely fair comment, and if someone labels you as anti-Semtic for saying so, they’re probably putting it on. But as for red, well, if you can’t see that these arguments are problematic because of their highly biased and often racist nature, we have nothing to discuss.

Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people
Green
Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is unjust and an abuse of human rights. It brings Israel widespread condemnation from the international community.
Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is particularly ironic considering the oppression Jews have suffered throughout history.
Amber
Israel should know better, given the Jews’ own experiences in the Holocaust.
Red
Israel is an Apartheid state.
Zionism is a racist ideology.
“Jews-the new Nazis.”(1)
Zionists aim to crush the Palestinian people and to annexe the West Bank and Gaza in contravention of international law.

The wall
Green
Israel’s security wall is highly objectionable because it separates Palestinians from their crops and their livelihood and attempts to annexe land. However, it has effectively deterred terrorist attacks.
Red
Israel’s racist wall is a blatant attempt to legitimise (with the US seal of approval) its illegal occupation of even more Palestinian land.

Terrorism
Green
It’s understandable, given the enormous hardships the Palestinian people suffer, why they resort to terrorism. However, targeting and killing civilians is repugnant, no matter what the justification.
Amber
It’s understandable why Palestinians resort to terrorism.
Red
Assassinating leaders and destroying houses with bulldozers is also terrorism.
Against such oppression, terrorism is justified.

The Zionist lobby
Green
Zionist lobby groups are influential in Western media and government.
Zionist lobby groups pursue their cause over-zealously.
Zionist lobby groups don’t speak for all Jewish people.
Amber
The Zionist lobby stifles debate in the media and crushes dissent within the Jewish community.
Red
Everyone knows how powerful the Zionist lobby is.
“The fundamentalist Zionist lobby controls politics and the media in the US and Australia.”(2)
Lobbying for the interests of Israel is illegitimate.

The Zionist lobby and anti-Semitism
Green
Zionist lobby groups sometimes try to justify the unjustifiable, and anti-Semites use this lobbying as an excuse to justify their prejudices.
Amber
Pro-Israel lobbying can lead to anti-Semitism.
Red
“Far from protecting Jewish people against future atrocities, the Fundamentalist Zionist lobby is actually promoting anti-Semitism by its actions and tactics. Neither major party in either country is game to protest, because the power of the lobby is such that careers can be ruined.”(3)

The Holocaust and the creation of Israel
Green
Guilt about the Holocaust was a factor in the UN decision to found the state of Israel. However, the modern Zionist movement predated the Holocaust by nearly a century, political movement towards a Jewish state in Israel started decades before the 1947 UN Partition Plan, and Jewish people have an historic connection with Israel going back thousands of years.
Amber
Israel plays on world guilt about the Holocaust in order to gain moral justification for its actions.
Red
Israel wouldn’t exist but for Jews playing on world guilt over the Holocaust.
Israel has no justification for its existence except the Holocaust.
Israel has developed a Holocaust industry by which it absolves itself from any moral responsibility for its actions.

(1) Graffiti at Sydney University
(2) Margo Kingston, On the Road Again, 22 July 2004 (since removed)
(3) The Australian, Media section, Diary, 27 July 2004, attributed to Margo Kingston

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