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Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Canberra
Home country: Australia
Current location: 149°7'51"E, 35°16'42"S
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 35,898

Journal Archives

What ‘pro-Israel’ should mean (Jeremy Ben-Ami)

Jeremy Ben-Ami is president of J Street, a Washington-based nonprofit that advocates a diplomatic resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the author of “A New Voice for Israel.”

Advocates of strong U.S.-Israel relations have aimed for decades to keep Israel from being a divisive issue in American politics. Yet Israel is one of very few foreign policy issues already rating attention in the 2012 presidential election.

Republican candidates recently staked their claim to the “pro-Israel” mantle in front of the Republican Jewish Coalition Forum. President Obama made his case on Friday to 6,000 Reform Jews gathered in Washington.


To be pro-Israel in the 21st century is to recognize that both Jews and Palestinians have a right to a national homeland and that the route to peace and security is through an agreement to live in two states of their own.


Obama and those who anxiously urge — as friends and allies — that Israel choose the two-state path need to make the case, with vigor, that theirs is the better definition of “pro-Israel.”

Those who oppose this path are the ones breaking the long-term bipartisan consensus in this country. Among Jewish Americans, their views are in the minority. It should be on them to make a reasoned argument why theirs is a better way to be pro-Israel rather than resorting to labeling those who disagree with them as “anti-Israel.”

Posted by Violet_Crumble | Sat Dec 24, 2011, 06:41 AM (1 replies)

Treasury out of touch and arrogant, says official review

ONE of Australia's most powerful institutions, the Commonwealth Treasury, has admitted it is seen as arrogant and needs to acquire a better understanding of groups outside government, especially business.

A wide-ranging review by senior Treasury officials recommends Treasury improves its ''engagement and consultation'' so it can give better policy advice. Greater use of social media and other new communication technologies were flagged.

A ''perception of arrogance in our behaviours can limit our external effectiveness'', it noted.

While the department's legendary hard-headed approach was affirmed as a key strength, the review said ''a better recognition of the limits of our knowledge/frameworks will improve engagement with stakeholders and assist us to obtain relevant skills, knowledge and data from others''.

Better collaboration with other organisations would improve Treasury's ''effectiveness and influence'', it says.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/treasury-out-of-touch-and-arrogant-says-official-review-20111223-1p8kh.html#ixzz1hRir42Cz

I don't know why they needed a report to tell them what's so blatantly obvious. To be fair, though, people say a lot worse about my department, so much so that after experiencing a taxi-driver who got a bit angry when I told him where I worked, that I took to telling people I work at Treasury if they ask...
Posted by Violet_Crumble | Sat Dec 24, 2011, 06:21 AM (0 replies)

Mass boycott leads to awkward silence at UN Kim tribute

December 24, 2011
The Age

NEW YORK: The United States, Japan, South Korea and most leading European countries have boycotted a minute's silence at the United Nations General Assembly for North Korea's late leader, Kim Jong-il.

Australia's representative was in the General Assembly during the tribute.

The tribute, demanded by North Korea, was the highest-profile international move yet sought by the government in Pyongyang in its quest for global recognition for the hardline leader, who died last Saturday at the age of 69.

The awkward silence was a ''protocol'' move following a North Korean request, according to the UN General Assembly president, Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/mass-boycott-leads-to-awkward-silence-at-un-kim-tribute-20111223-1p8la.html#ixzz1hRhziGFc
Posted by Violet_Crumble | Sat Dec 24, 2011, 06:17 AM (13 replies)

Behind North Korea's iron curtain

When the distraught newsreader in black made her appearance on the screen at lunchtime on Monday, some will have had a flashback to a day in July 17 years ago.

A weeping announcer then revealed the death of the previous leader - North Korea's founder and all powerful dictator, Kim Il-sung.

Then as now, questions were asked about the failure of South Korean and American intelligence to detect the death, some days previously, of the leader of a highly militarised - and now nuclear armed-state.

And then as now, analysts protest they have little more than educated guesswork to find out what is happening in the black box that is the North Korean leadership.

North Korea is still - by some margin - the world's most closed, isolated and repressive state.

Posted by Violet_Crumble | Fri Dec 23, 2011, 07:31 AM (0 replies)

Israel has 101 different types of permits governing Palestinian movement

Over the decades permit regimen grows into vast, triple-digit bureaucracy.

By Chaim Levinson

Israel's Civil Administration issues 101 different types of permits to govern the movement of Palestinians, whether within the West Bank, between the West Bank and Israel or beyond the borders of the state, according to an agency document of which Haaretz obtained a copy.

The most common permits are those allowing Palestinians to work in Israel, or in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Over the decades, however, the permit regimen has grown into a vast, triple-digit bureaucracy.

There are separate permits for worshipers who attend Friday prayers on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and for clerics working at the site; for unspecified clergy and for church employees. Medical permits differentiate between physicians and ambulance drivers, and between "medical emergency staff" and "medical staff in the seam zone," meaning the border between Israel and the West Bank. There is a permit for escorting a patient in an ambulance and one for simply escorting a patient.

There are separate permits for traveling to a wedding in the West Bank or traveling to a wedding in Israel, and also for going to Israel for a funeral, a work meeting, or a court hearing.

The separation fence gave rise to an entirely new category of permits, for farmers cut off from their fields. Thus, for instance, there is a permit for a "farmer in the seam zone," not to be confused with the permit for a "permanent farmer in the seam zone."

Posted by Violet_Crumble | Fri Dec 23, 2011, 07:16 AM (1 replies)

Survivors tell why the boats keep coming

Indonesian authorities have found 13 people on an island off East Java, raising hope there have been more survivors of the disastrous sinking of a vessel laden with asylum seekers.


Amid emotional pleas for the Australian government to help them and wrenching accounts of wives, children and brothers lost at sea, two of the survivors sharply criticised the immigration policies they say encourages them to take great risks with their lives.

"Why does Australia not close the border?," said Esmat Adine, a 24 year old Afghan. "Everyone is coming because the border is open. Everyone is going there and they are being accepted.

"If Australia does no want asylum seekers to come to Australia [by boat], it is a better way to close all the borders and then no-one will come."

Devastated by their ordeal, they want to be flown to Australia, where many already have families. But they know that is not something the Australian government will do and they face a long stint in immigration detention, or a hostel, in Indonesia.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/world/survivors-tell-why-the-boats-keep-coming-20111219-1p1td.html#ixzz1gyVRRZJk

Posted by Violet_Crumble | Mon Dec 19, 2011, 06:25 AM (2 replies)

Israel, wake up and smell the coffee

Years of rioting against Palestinians, uprooting of trees, vandalism, arson, destruction, dispossession, theft, rocks and axes didn't cause a ripple, but one rock to the head of a deputy brigade commander made all the difference.

By Gideon Levy

If I could, I'd send a modest bouquet of flowers as a gesture of thanks for the work of the rioters - the ones who infiltrated the Ephraim Brigade base in the West Bank last week. They achieved, at least for a moment, what others had failed to do: stir Israeli public opinion and maybe even the army and government against the West Bank settlers.

Good morning, Israel. You've woken up? Years of rioting against Palestinians, uprooting of trees, vandalism, arson, destruction, dispossession, theft, rocks and axes didn't cause a ripple here. But one rock to the head of a deputy brigade commander, Lt. Col. Tzur Harpaz, made all the difference.

An all-out riot. Jewish terrorism. There are militias in the West Bank, settler-terrorists in a no-man's-land. And all this due to a rock that drew a few drops of sacred Jewish blood.

Here they are again: arrogance and nationalist ideology. How is it possible that terrorism has arisen from the Chosen People? How could a few drops of blood from one person shock more than streams of other people's blood? How did the rock that scratched Harpaz's forehead reverberate immeasurably more than the teargas canister that ripped through the forehead of Palestinian Mustafa Tamimi, killed four days earlier by soldiers from the army Harpaz serves in?

No, the right wing's hilltop youth haven't endangered the State of Israel. They haven't even distorted its image, as it's now popular to proclaim. What do you want from them? They've been made accustomed to think that anything goes. Enough with the self-righteous clucking of tongues. Enough with the "condemnations" and expressions of bogus and belated shock. There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to the settlers. It's not a "new level" of activity, and it doesn't involve the crossing of "red lines." The only line that has been crossed, perhaps, is the line of apathy.

Posted by Violet_Crumble | Sun Dec 18, 2011, 08:22 AM (11 replies)

With a strong arm

Is it possible Israeli security agencies could reach terrorist leaders in Dubai and in Damascus - at least according to foreign sources - but can't reach the Jewish terror leaders in the West Bank?

By Yoel Marcus

The undersigned was educated in a religious boarding school near Kfar Hasidim in the north. Boys and girls studied together. The girls would crochet skullcaps for the boys, and the institution was under the sponsorship of Hapoel Hamizrahi, a moderate Zionist party, from which the first advocates of Greater Israel eventually emerged.

Most of the counselors and teachers were Yekkes - German Jews. Discipline was strict. We had to wash every day in cold water, and only on Fridays did we get to enjoy a hot shower. The concept "exclusion" did not exist at the time. On Friday evening after Kiddush, girls and boys danced together. Nobody died and nobody was born as a result.

Near the school there was a yeshiva we liked to visit, but not to tease the students who studied aloud while twirling their side curls. We, the wearers of knitted skullcaps, would go there to engage in fly-catching competitions. For some reason, the yeshiva was full of flies.

Only later did we discover that they would continue to study and we would go to the army. They would continue to study, and we could be killed or wounded. During those days of adolescence we didn't think that in time two mutually hostile Jewish nations would arise here: a Zionist majority in a secular state versus a violent and thuggish ultra-Orthodox minority.

It's a minority that aspires to force its beliefs on the majority, and then there's a tiny minority that aspires to force Greater Israel on the majority, whatever the cost. All that as opposed to the legitimate political movement that used politics to fight against the return of the territories, and as opposed to the Labor Party, which initiated the settlements in the naive hope that what we occupied would remain in our hands.

Posted by Violet_Crumble | Fri Dec 16, 2011, 07:00 AM (4 replies)

Jello Biafra - Thoughts On Visit To Israel

Az originally posted this on DU2 but it's a really good article, and besides I wanted to get in the first new OP on a live DU3

So now I have been to Israel. I have also been to Palestine. At least I got a taste of the place, but not in the way I originally hoped.

Many people reading this know the uproar and complicated reasons my band, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School Of Medicine pulled out of a July 2nd show scheduled in Tel Aviv. In many ways I really wish we had played. But I also share most of the boycott's supporters' feelings about Israel's government, the occupation, and ongoing human rights violations.

I hope people take the time to understand how deeply this has torn at the fabric of our band. The promoter in Tel Aviv lost thousands, and I am eating thousands more in lost and re-booked airfares that I have no idea how I am going to pay, or how I will pay my bills for the rest of the year. Real human beings got hurt here.

This whole controversy has been one of the most intense situations of my life—and I thrive on intense situations. But the rest of the band was not used to this. How fair was it to drag them in in the first place? This is not like fighting Tipper Gore and the LAPD, greedy ex-Dead Kennedys members or more-radical-than-thou thugs who think it's OK to put someone in the hospital for being a "sellout." I gradually felt like I had gotten in over my head sticking my nose into one of the longest and nastiest conflicts on earth. I'd gotten as close as I wanted to one of those Herzog movies like "Fitzcarraldo" or "Aguirre, the Wrath of God." A responsible leader does not go, "Hey, check out that big storm at the top of Mt. Everest. Let's go up anyway just to see what happens."

So with the roller coaster still in my stomach and my head, I flew solo to Israel instead. The mission: to check things out myself and hopefully at least get closer to some kind of conclusion on whether artists boycotting Israel, especially me, is really the best way to help the Palestinian people. The same idea as before, but sadly, no gig.

Posted by Violet_Crumble | Sun Dec 11, 2011, 01:36 AM (5 replies)

World bodies must act now to save Lifta

Earlier this year, the group 1948 Lest We Forget filed an application to the World Monuments Fund (WMF) to include the Palestinian village of Lifta in its 2012 World Monuments Watch List.

The WMF was chosen because it accepts nominations from individuals, institutions and organizations without the need for national or state endorsement. The fund is an independent organization registered as a charity and based in New York City. It is concerned with saving some of the world’s most treasured places, whether great buildings, sites or singular monuments.

In preparing the application, we carried out extensive research on Lifta — its rich history, its unique architectural, cultural and social character — and found it to be an embodiment of everything Palestinian.

The tragic history of Lifta is no less important an element in its nomination than its special architectural character. This is because Lifta, unlike most other urban environments, was built by its own inhabitants who also owned the houses and the nearly 1,200 hectares (approximately 3,000 acres) which belonged to it.

The construction of Lifta’s cube-like buildings topped by their domed roofs was only possible because of the use of the single natural material the inhabitants employed: the special Jerusalem stone. The unique cluster of buildings seem to be embedded into the gentle slopes of the hills around them, and not one house vies for recognition over its neighbor. These houses are a perfect example of how to build a community in total harmony with the physical environment without pretense or architectural pastiche.


HA! Take that, Arutz Sheva!
Posted by Violet_Crumble | Wed Dec 7, 2011, 07:30 AM (4 replies)
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