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Keep socialist blog En Passant going - donate now
If you want to keep a blog that makes the arguments every day against the ravages of capitalism going and keeps alive the flame of democracy and community, make a donation to help cover my costs. And of course keep reading the blog. To donate click here. Keep socialist blog En Passant going. More... (4)

Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
You can prove my 2 ex-comrades wrong by donating to my blog En Passant at BSB: 062914 Account: 1067 5257, the Commonwealth Bank in Tuggeranong, ACT. More... (12)

My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/18-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-g20-meeting-age-of-enttilement-engineers-attack-of-austerity-hardship-on-civilians.mp3 (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2014/02/11/john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-2/ (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/4-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-end-of-the-age-of-entitlement-for-the-needy-but-pandering-to-the-lusts-of-the-greedy.mp3 (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole
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Sick kids and paying upfront

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Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2013/12/03/john-passant-australian-national-university-8/ (0)

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Bakri, Bakri

Sol Salbe of the Middle East News Service in Melbourne writes:

My first reaction to seeing this article in the Hebrew was wow. I wrote: This is the kind of strong article with a message that even Gideon Levy only produces a couple of times a year. Fully expecting Haaretz to translate this item.

Well they didn’t so here it is. I reiterate IMHO this is exceptional article. I’d also like to point out that Thursday, the eve of the Israeli weekend is not a good day for difficult to translate items. Gideon Levy makes so many Israeli-specific allusions, this took a bit of effort and a lot of time. Not to mention it’s longer than the original – Sol.

Bakri, Bakri

Gideon Levy

24 October 2013

We love our “Israeli Arabs” in flat bread, whether in the smaller thicker pita or the larger, thinner Druze/Lebanese lafa. For us it’s hummus at  Abu-Shukri ( “the genuine article” ), Koftas at Diana’s and kebabs at Al Barbour – that’s the way we love them. That’s how we fancied  Muhammad Bakri when he played a leading role in Beyond the Walls. He was awarded the David’s Violin prize for it. That’s also how we loved his son Saleh: when he starred in the Band’s Visit. For that role he won an Ophir Prize – the Israeli equivalent of the Oscars. That’s the way we love ourselves as well: Look at us, so enlightened, so egalitarian. Arab actors are beautifully successful in the only democracy. Why, we even broadcast Arab Labour — which pokes fun at Jewish-Arab relations in this country — on prime time. How liberal is that?

But look, look at what happens when those “good Arabs” step outside the hummus-chips-salad boundaries that we’ve designated for them —  they immediately become the enemies of the people. It was like that with Muhammad, and same again with Saleh. Their story stretches far beyond the boundaries of their village, Ba’ana, it extends even beyond their roles in the Israeli theatre and cinema. The Bakri Saga is the story of the Israelis’ attitude to the Palestinian citizens of the state.

The slanders against Muhammad Bakri began immediately after several members of his extended family were suspected of involvement in deadly Mount Meron terrorist attack, for which two of them were convicted. Bakri the elder became a marked man. Then came Jenin, Jenin oh, Jenin, Jenin, and he was sentenced to the vilest form of character assassination and to a life of ostracism and persecution. All Israeli propaganda films, whether overt or covert, are all based on pure  unadulterated truth, and only the Jenin, Jenin is a lie that need to haunted to death. No war crimes were committed in the destroyed Jenin camp; of course not. And Bakri who may have exaggerated a little in his film, is the real criminal.

The High Court of Justice, sitting as Film Review Board, decreed that film was made for an improper reasons. That was a particularly puzzling and outrageous criterion, although it rejected the libel suit filed by a group of voluble, patriotic reservists. Since then, this gifted creator, this wonderful actor and esteemed director who was so integrated into the art scene, has become a broken man. He who was opposed to violence on both sides, and who was as sharply critical of his own people at least as much he was of his state has, became a bitter person  his voice has almost been silenced and the fount of his work has almost dried up.

Now it’s the son’s turn. Saleh said in an interview aired this week in Belgium, that he does not feel any connection to Israel. “It ruined my life, my father’s life, the life of my people.” Why should he feel otherwise. Unlike Istvan Szabo’s Mephistopheles, Saleh said that he won’t act anymore in Israeli plays and films. “My decision is a protest against the rising fascism”, he explained. He is unwilling to serve as fig leaf “to make Israel look good, as a flourishing democracy.”

Yuck, what ungrateful so-and-sos. The Israelis “let” the father study at Tel Aviv University and appear on the stages of the national theatre Habima, as well as in the Haifa and Khan theatres. The son was  permitted to study at the Ben-Zvi Institute and perform at national theatre and at the Acco Festival [in Acca/Acco/Acre.] To paraphrase the prophet Isaiah: Children [Arabs] we have raised and exalted, yet they have rebelled against us.

When Muhammad was being pursued over his film, almost all his fellow artists, actors and directors remained silent. Almost no one came to his aid, no one protested his persecution because of his work. Now that Saleh has expressed his protest and is willing to pay a heavy personal price, this disgraceful silence of the lambs would continue.

Mohammed and Saleh are bad Arabs. They are unwilling to continue to participate in a masquerade called Israeli democracy. They are unwilling to dance to the sounds of the Israeli Magic Flute, which shows them off as a badge of honour, as long as they are submissive slaves . They are  unwilling to cuddle up to racism whether institutionalised or popular. They don’t want to entertain the Israelis who are part of this racism and thus help them feel so good about themselves. But instead of father and son being shown solidarity and esteem, at least among the so-called Israeli avant-garde, the response to their action has been a shameful silence . Bakri and his son will not play with us anymore, so what? We have the next music reality TV coming up.

Hebrew original: http://www.haaretz.co.il/opinions/.premium-1.2147653

Translated by Sol Salbe of the Middle East News Service, Melbourne, Australia. facebook.com/sol.salbe

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