Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Silk “Perspectives”

The recent Thursday 5 May 2005 “Perspectives” programme on Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) Radio National gave Paul Heywood - Smith QC, Chairperson of Australian Friends of Palestine Association, a platform to vent his virulent attack on Israel’s legitimacy as a state. The tone of his “comments’ can be exemplified by a single quote: “The real problem for apologists of Israel is that Israel is a racist state.” …and so it goes on…

Follow the link for a full Program Transcript.

The Ted Lapkin (AIJAC) programme to which Heywood-Smith refers is transcribed at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/perspective/stories/s1342920.htm

Address your comments to Producer, Sue Clark at perspective@your.abc.net.au

Copy us on your letters to the ABC on this topic, at http://groups.google.com.au/group/wajiw


Steve Lieblich said...

Text of a letter from a Watchdog....

Dear Sue Clark,
Paul Heywood - Smith QC, Chairperson, Australian Friends of Palestine Association on 5 May 2005 delivered a diatribe unworthy of a QC or any fair minded person for that matter.

Unsubstantiated arguments steeped in erroneous assumptions and outright falsehoods were offered under the guise of educated comment. If this is the standard of his argument he is certainly not someone I would want representing me in a court of law.

Former Soviet dissident and Israeli parliamentarian Natan Sharansky recently posited a 3D test for anti-semitism:-

The first D is the test of demonization. Whether it came in the theological form of a collective accusation of deicide or in the literary depiction of Shakespeare's Shylock, Jews were demonized for centuries as the embodiment of evil. Therefore, today we must be wary of whether the Jewish state is being demonized by having its actions blown out of all sensible proportion. For example, the comparisons of Israelis to Nazis and of the Palestinian refugee camps to Auschwitz - comparisons heard practically every day within the "enlightened" quarters of Europe - can only be considered anti-Semitic. Those who draw such analogies either do not know anything about Nazi Germany or, more plausibly, are deliberately trying to paint modern-day Israel as the embodiment of evil.
The second D is the test of double standards. For thousands of years a clear sign of anti-Semitism was treating Jews differently than other peoples, from the discriminatory laws many nations enacted against them to the tendency to judge their behavior by a different yardstick. Similarly, today we must ask whether criticism of Israel is being applied selectively. In other words, do similar policies by other governments engender the same criticism, or is there a double standard at work? It is anti-Semitism, for instance, when Israel is singled out by the United Nations for human rights abuses while tried and true abusers like China, Iran, Cuba, and Syria are ignored. Likewise, it is anti-Semitism when Israel's Magen David Adom, alone among the world's ambulance services, is denied admission to the International Red Cross.
The third D is the test of deligitimation. In the past, anti-Semites tried to deny the legitimacy of the Jewish religion, the Jewish people, or both. Today, they are trying to deny the legitimacy of the Jewish state, presenting it, among other things, as the last vestige of colonialism. While criticism of an Israeli policy may not be anti-Semitic, the denial of Israel's right to exist is always anti-Semitic. If other peoples have a right to live securely in their homelands, then the Jewish people have a right to live securely in their homeland.
I suggest that Mr Heywood has met all three tests and is simply the anti-semitic bigot he protests he is not.

Steve Lieblich said...

Text of another letter to the ABC from a Watchdog...

Dear Ms Clark
I do understand the principle of your program "Perspective", namely giving an individual the opportunity to put forward a viewpoint. However, Heywood Smith's recent contribution was offensive and of a poor standard, not deserving time on the public broadcaster. This segment will be seen as an extension of tolerance of destructive views that is well beyond acceptable. Below I have abstracted direct quotations from his diatribe, that demonstrate the obsessed fury of a man consumed with hatred.
“Israel…certainly is not, a democratic state…Israel is a racist state.
The Zionist catch-cry …..reeks with inherent racism.
the contemptuous way that Israel’s government....
These organisations exist only to promote Jews..
the demographic landscape might not be to the liking of the Zionists - that is their problem.
They have chosen to create a racist….society, on another people’s homeland.
Arab communities were reacting to the aggression of the Zionists engaged in stealing...lands.
I resent the description of me ….as anti-Semitic….last resort of the moral bankrupt.
I, at least, am not prepared to be intimidated.”
None of this is new to Jewish people. However, the truly upsetting feature of the present renaissance of antisemitism, in a slightly mutated form, is that its practitioners, people like Heywood-Smith, have duped so many, including a number of your colleagues on our own public broadcaster. Be not deceived. He is "not prepared to be intimidated". Please don't make it easier for cunning sophistry to find its way into the homes of Australians.
Yours sincerely...

Steve Lieblich said...

Extract from yet another letter to the ABC from a Watchdog...

I was dismayed by Heywood-Smith's rantings on Israel and it seemed clear to me that they were in fact anti-Semitic judged by Sharansky's three-D test, Demonisation, Double Standard and Delegitimisation.
What greater double standard could be possible than decrying Israel's treatment of its Arabs while ignoring the fact that almost all Arab countries do not allow Jews to live there, having got rid of most of their Jews since the 1940s?...

Heywood-Smith's allegations are a combination of exaggeration and falsehood. In referring to the "original owners", how far back is Heywood-Smith trying to take us? The Jews are descended from the inhabitants of 2000-3000 years ago who had their own sovereignty whilst the Palestinians are descended predominantly from the North African wave that invaded in the 7thC of the common era. They never held the land as an autonomous sovereign state; it was always a province of somewhere else, for example the Ottoman Empire for the 400 years before WW1. It was inhabited by both Jews and Arabs in that time ... and about half of Israel's current Jewish population is descended from the Jews of the region.

He is clearly trying to delegitimise Israel. Every Middle east country was created by the post-WW1 carve-up of the Empire into separate states first by the league of nations and subsequently by the UN and Israel's right to be predominantly Jewish is no less than the rights of surrounding states to be predominantly Arab.

Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and is rated by NGO Freedom House as the only "Free" state of the region (though two others are rated "Partly Free".) Arab citizens have full legal rights including equality under the law. Recent decisions by the Israeli High Court have upheld the right of Arabs to live on land purchased by the Jewish Agency and JNF.

Steve Lieblich said...

Here's my own letter to the ABC...

Dear Ms Clark

Paul Heywood – Smith’s diatribe on your “Perspectives” programme on Thursday 5 May 2005, is such an obvious and astounding pack of lies that it doesn’t even warrant detailed refutation.

Suffice to say that this so-called ‘friend” of Palestine is doing no more than harbouring and fuelling unveiled hatred and enmity which will simply prolong the misery of Israelis and Palestinians alike… but above all the misery of the poor Palestinians who are confined by their hitherto-corrupt leaders (the jury’s still out on the current, new regime), their Arab brethren, and their dear “friends” like Heywood-Smith, to a life of marginalisation and futile dreams of genocide and martyrdom. What on earth does he expect to achieve by inciting such hatred from his armchair?

I’m amazed that you’d allow such blatant vitriole on “our ABC”….