Thursday, July 22, 2004

Memo to Israel and Palestine – stop dragging me into your border dispute
Earlier today, I was going to have a big rant at a noxious Op Ed in today’s Oz – a rant that could only be construed as hostile to Israel; and so breaking this blog’s long-standing policy of neutrality in that country’s border dispute with Palestine.
The good news is that my rant is indeed running, after all – below – and qualmlessly, on my part.  In terms of my newfound lack of qualms, serendipity has just now provided me with this fresh morsel of news, so allowing me to balance things up, by digging it into the Palestinans as well:    
The moderate Australian Federation of Islamic Councils has attacked the Federal Government over its claim that terrorism was driven by Islamist extremists bent on attacking the West rather than issues such as poverty and the Palestine conflict. 
Oh yeah, Ameer Ali?  Since when, in the last 50 years, have the Saudi Royals and Bin Laden family been concomitant with “poverty”?   As for the Israel/Palestine conflict – yep, there’s a connection there allright.  A bunch of GenX middle-class (mainly) Saudis have been brainwashed into thinking (i) that neo-colonialist intervention on Palestine’s behalf is required, and that (ii) the best form of such diplomacy for Palestine is no longer merely the locals blowing up a bus in Israel with 30 civilians on it.    Saudis blowing up a city-block in the West, killing 3000 civilians (including Muslims, Jews and Australians) is going to get a much better, sooner result for Palestine, isn’t it?
Go play “Kill and Be Killed” with Israel, all you like, Ameer Ali.  Just leave me – and my country – out of it.
Meanwhile, at least one Israelo-fascist seems equally determined to antagonise and provoke distant South Pacific islands – and me.
Opining on the Mossad New Zealand passport scandal, Ted Lapkin thinks that PM Helen Clark has been too hard on Israel, while being too soft on Islamic terrorists.
Fact #1.  The six-month jail sentences Eli Cara and Uri Kelman received seem extraordinarily light, given that the offence they were found guilty of carries a seven-year maximum jail sentence.  If the duo’s activities – stealing the identity of a wheelchair bound New Zealander neighbour of Cara’s, who was suffering from cerebral palsy – aren’t at the upper end of the scale, what is?  The further facts that an accomplice, Zev Barkan, has already escaped, and that the duo have been utterly uncooperative on their Mossad* links, means that, IMO, New Zealand would be entitled to – and moreover, should have – given the duo the full Gitmo Bay treatment, at least until some answers were forthcoming.  Violating a country’s sovereignty in this way is very close to, if not actually, an act of war.
Fact #2.   If NZ PM Helen Clark is indeed deliberately soft on Islamic terrorists gaining aceess to false passports, then I suggest that, far from being buried in an aside in the Op Ed pages, this startling news should be on the front page.  And if it is true, Australia should immediately close its borders to all New Zealand passport-holders until further notice – at the very least.
Lapkin is also wrong is his Keystone Cops/Inspector Clouseau analogy.  The only reason the duo got caught is an alert NZ passport officer, who thought that Cara’s accent was suspiciously foreign for a 30 y.o. New Zealand-born man who had never held a passport before.  It is telling that the unusualness of a 30 y.o. New Zealand-born person not having left their country in the first decade of their adulthood was presumably the passport officer’s main prompt here.  Mossad really needs to get a handle on the dire predicament of GenX in Australasia – apart from this, though, the plan would have gone off smoothly, as the perfect crime.
Finally, for what the Mossad operatives did is personal.  As a fifth-generation settler-Australian, I’m only entitled to one passport, and I value the relative global respectability of the Australian passport, to which New Zealand’s ranks about equally, as I understand it.   What Mossad did has diluted the international par value of a New Zealand passport.  Even if the value of an Australian passport hasn’t been consequently diluted, there is little comfort in knowing that it could so easily have happened here, and quite possibly has already, and also will in the future.

Assuming Ted Lapkin lives in Australia and holds citizenship, he apparently doesn’t care about dilution of his passport’s utility.  Perhaps he holds, or is eligible for, another country's passport.  If so, could he please fuck-off there – and leave Australia to get on with its own problems, of which the Israel/Palestine border dispute is most emphatically not one.

*  If they weren't spies, the only other possible explanation is that they were high-level organised crime operatives.

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