January 25, 2004


The Jerusalem Post marks Australia Day weekend with this fine column by Gerald M. Steinberg, of Israel’s Bar-Ilan University:

In an era of anti-American and anti-Israel political correctness Australia has become the leader of a counterrevolution based on morality and common sense.

Instead of double-talk and double standards from much of the self-declared "international community," Australian leaders consistently say what they mean, and mean what they say.

When the head of Sydney University's Peace Foundation emptied the concept of peace of any content by honoring Hanan Ashrawi, the PLO's star propagandist and leader in the demonization of Israel, officials noted the absurdity of the decision and stayed far away.

The policies adopted and implemented by Prime Minister John Howard and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer – who is in Israel for an official visit – are characterized by a combination of backbone, courage and principle, which have paid off well for the Australian people.

Canberra is now widely recognized as a leader in the response to terrorism and the restoration of international stability.

In sharp contrast to European politicians and diplomats whose policies on terrorism and the Middle East have been total failures, the Australians are increasingly welcomed as realistic and effective.

Like the Bush administration and, on occasion, Tony Blair's Britain, the Howard/Downer foreign policy recognizes the inherent immorality and transmission of weakness in evenhanded responses to terrorism and hatred.

Australia has consistently avoided being caught in the demonization of Israel, joining a handful of countries in opposing the General Assembly resolution which asked the International Court of Justice to investigate Israel's separation barriers.

In contrast, Canada and most of Europe took a carefully evenhanded and entirely unprincipled position by abstaining.

There's more. Via reader Joel G.

Posted by Tim Blair at January 25, 2004 11:34 AM

Canada's position was very principled. Money talks.

Paul Desmarai Sr , owner of Power Corp, the largest shareholder of TotalElf which had large oil contracts with Saddam is:

1) Former Prime Minister Chretiens father-in-law.

2) The man who gave current Prime Minister Paul Martin an amazing deal on his shipping company which made Martin very rich.


Posted by: Bruce at January 25, 2004 at 12:21 PM

This article makes far more sense about the decline of Israel and Sharon's insane policies. Read it and weep.

Posted by: Richard at January 25, 2004 at 12:51 PM

thanks goodness they just steal cars where i live, and not use them as bombs, even if they end up looking the same though

Posted by: dolebludger at January 25, 2004 at 01:05 PM

If that article does truly make sense to you Richard I don't know what to say. I was struck by this line
'Israel, having ceased to care about the children of the Palestinians, should not be surprised when they come washed in hatred and blow themselves up in the centers of Israeli escapism.'
I would suggest that the cause and effect is the wrong way around.

Posted by: Robin Wade at January 25, 2004 at 01:25 PM

Richard, it's Israeli hospitals that look after Palestinian children, it's palestinian bombs that blow them up.

If you must weep, weep over the Arab reactionary hysteria over a tiny sliver of land occupied by Jews.

Posted by: Tony at January 25, 2004 at 01:43 PM

There will (hopefully) come a time when Israel's friends can talk honestly about some of Israel's policies, and attitudes to the Palestinians.
That time is not now. The Palestinians as a whole, by and large, taken all in all, are behaving like raving psychopathic homicidal nutters. Not all of them, but a sizeable fraction.
Until this changes, I'm just amazed at the incredible restraint shown by the IDF. At any one of the numerous funerals of homicide bombers, complete with massed crowds of Kalashnikov-wielding fanatics shouting "Death to the Jews!", all it would take would be one laser-guided 2000 lb airburst.... and every time I think of the kids that have been massacred by these Jihadis, I don't know if such an atrocity isn't justified. It might just discourage them.

Good job I'm not in charge, isn't it?

Anyway, when a sorta kinda peace breaks out, and people aren't exploding any more, then the Israeli government might listen to voices of sweet reason. But not from those "reasonable" nations that treated Israel with such monstrous injustice in the past. Only friends need apply. I hope Australia falls in that category.

Posted by: Alan E Brain at January 25, 2004 at 09:20 PM

People who complain about Sharon generally know nothing about his policies. It's just some standard way to sound sophisticated. What are the chances Richard can name siginificant differences between Sharon's policy and Barak's policy? And what "decline" is he talking about?

Posted by: maor at January 25, 2004 at 09:34 PM

"The Palestinians as a whole, by and large, taken all in all, are behaving like raving psychopathic homicidal nutters."

That is, like good muslims:

Prophet of Doom

Posted by: Dean Douthat at January 26, 2004 at 02:46 AM

Bruce, thanks for the link:

Alan, it's lucky neither of us is in charge: I would have gone to open war and mass expulsions after Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi was assassinated, just because I don't believe democracy works right if ministerial appointments are subject to veto by gunfire and this veto isn't contested with extreme vigor and violence.

Posted by: David Blue at January 26, 2004 at 03:09 AM

Maybe Richard should read this column instead of Burg who has discredited himself along with Beilin. All those 67% against Sharon's current behaviour don't give a fag butt for what Burg says.
"Downstairs, before we left, the head of the hospital, an Israeli named Audrey, was showing me the children's waiting room. I couldn't help but notice, all around, an Arab woman with her son, an Arab family over there checking in, Arab children playing with the toys while waiting. The doctor saw the look on my face and laughed. "Oh, yes, we treat everyone." I guess I was astonished. She just shrugged. "We're Jews. This is how we live. It's also for the future. They're not going anywhere, and we're not going anywhere. There will eventually be peace. There has to be." When? A month? A year? A hundred years? More? She didn't know. I had to say it. You're incredible. You take everyone, you treat everyone, no one goes first, no one goes last, you just go in order of who needs help. That's, like, Mother Teresa stuff. "We're not saints, we're just doing our jobs. It's not easy, I admit. And it gets hard when they cheer when the bodies are brought in." I looked at her. What did you say? She sighed. "Yes, it gets hard when they cheer." This was one of the times during my trip when I held up my hands and said, "Stop. Wait." I turned and walked away to breathe deeply for a minute. I wonder if they've restocked that mini-bar. Yeah, probably. It's a good hotel."

"It Gets Hard When They Cheer"

Posted by: Barry at January 26, 2004 at 03:32 AM