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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
(0)

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)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)

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In defence of Ahmadinejad’s UN speech

“What do the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Italy and Israel have in common? They are all either European or European-settler states. And they all decided to boycott [the] UN conference against racism in Geneva – even before [the] incendiary speech by the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad which triggered a further white-flight walkout by representatives of another 23 European states.”

Guardian columnist Seumas Milne, quoted above, was one of the few to point out the obvious in his article “What credibility is there in Geneva’s all-white boycott?”

He was an honourable exception to the vast bulk of media commentary, which was nothing but crude propaganda for the claim of Western governments that Ahmadinejad’s speech was “vile” and “hate-filled”, and (Orwell himself could not have dreamt this up) that the all-white boycott/walkout of an anti-racism conference was in fact a principled statement against racism.

On one level the rights or wrongs of Ahmadinejad’s speech were wholly incidental. UK Ambassador Peter Gooderham admitted that the European nations involved had agreed to walk out before they had even seen an advance transcript of the speech.

Other diplomats described how the cue for the walkout would be any mention at all of Israel. This in itself is proof that in the eyes of Israel and the West, any criticism of Israel, however mild, justifies accusations of racism.

But the reality is there was nothing at all objectionable about the speech Ahmadinejad gave. No genuine advocate of democracy and national self-determination could find fault with it.

The speech was a wholly defensible critique not only of Israel, but of the policies of the Western imperial powers which Ahmadinejad rightly blamed for the impoverishment and suffering of the colonial world. Contrary to the many hysterical accusations, there was nothing anti-Semitic in anything he said.

What did the speech consist of? First, an indictment of the colonial era that enslaved millions, and destroyed the civilisations of whole continents.

Then a condemnation of the world wars, horrific battles between the imperial powers to determine who would control the globe, wars that cost 100 million lives.

After that an attack on the structure of the UN and its security council, which turned that body into nothing but a plaything of the victors of World War II.

His attack on Israel, which followed, was in the context of a wider attack on the goals of the US in the Middle East, in particular the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

I’ll quote directly what Ahmadinejad said when talking about Israel, as it has been the subject of such gross distortion:

“Following World War II, [the victorious powers] resorted to military aggression to make an entire nation homeless under the pretext of Jewish suffering and they sent migrants from Europe, the United States and other parts of the world in order to establish a totally racist government in occupied Palestine. And, in fact, in compensation for the dire consequences of racism in Europe, they helped bring to power the most cruel and repressive racist regime in Palestine. The Security Council helped stabilise the occupying regime and supported it in the past 60 years, giving them a free hand to commit all sorts of atrocities.”

All of this is well-documented and unremarkable from a historical point of view. None of those who denounced Ahmadinejad advance a skerrick of evidence against any of these claims.

It is also undeniable, though many who get their news from the Western press might not know it, that such sentiments are perfectly in line with what most people on the planet think.

The connection between the Western-backed oppression of the Palestinians and the history of colonialist domination and racism is self-evident to almost all who live outside the bubble generated by the Western mass media.

That is why the often despotic rulers of many non-Western countries are happy to voice support for the Palestinians – they are taking a rare opportunity to do something that their population can agree with.

Socialist Alternative is no defender of Ahmadinejad’s decidedly anti-working class government, nor do we endorse everything he has said about the Holocaust. But the campaign to undermine the “Durban II” UN conference in Geneva, and the outrageous slanders against Ahmadinejad’s speech, are nothing but apologetics for the continued racist war being waged by Israel against the Palestinians.

 

This article, by Corey Oakley, first appeared in this month’s Socialist Alternative.

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Comments

Comment from juan
Time May 16, 2009 at 12:12 am

About the hypocritical walkout by the representatives from the, predominantly, Anglo Saxon countries, I can only think of Voltaire’s turning in his grave.

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