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John Passant

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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
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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
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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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Zionism and the whitewashing of history

Zionists are arguing that boycotting Israeli multinational and defence force supporter Max Brenner is like the Nazis targetting Jewish shops in the 1930s. Let’s explore the similarities then and now.

Does this sound familiar? A very strong brutal state ruled by racial supremacists singles out a group of defenceless people  ‎whose only crime is to not be part of the dominant group.  It invades and occupies nearby countries, subjugating the occupied peoples to incredible privation. It settles its citizens in the occupied Territories.

Nazi Germany looks more like Israel today in its treatment of Palestinians than any boycotters or protesters pointing out the reality of Zionism.

We stand with the oppressed, not the oppressors. As Marek Edelman said ‘to be a Jew always means always being with the oppressed and never the oppressors.’ That was why this hero of the Warsaw Ghetto supported the Palestinians.  Zionism as he recognised is the oppressor of Palestinians.

The Zionists also argue that Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions protesters single out Max Brenner because it is Jewish. This is not so. BDS campaigns against it because as part of the Strauss group it is a major Israeli supporter of the most brutal sections of the Israeli Defence Forces, forces who have committed crimes against the Palestinians.

Vashti Kenway says this about BDS and Zionist accusations of anti-semitism and Nazism in a recent article in Socialist Alternative:

‘Omar Barghouti deals with the argument directly in his “how to” guide to BDS, BDS: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights:

‘It is hardly worth reiterating that the Palestinian BDS Call does not target Jews, or even Israelis qua Jews; the call is strictly directed against Israel as a colonial and apartheid power that violates Palestinian rights and international law.

‘With this in mind, targets that seek to give cultural legitimacy to an apartheid regime, like the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, are fair game. Aharon Shabtai, Israel’s greatest living poet, wrote recently:

‘I do not believe that a State that maintains an occupation, committing on a daily basis crimes against civilians, deserves to be invited to any kind of cultural event. That is, it is anti-cultural; it is a barbarian act masked as culture in the most cynical way. It manifests support for Israel, and … that sustains the occupation.’

There are some lessons we can learn from the 30s. 

According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

The sudden flood of [Jewish] emigrants created a major refugee crisis. President Franklin D. Roosevelt convened a conference in Evian, France, in July 1938. Despite the participation of delegates from 32 countries, including the United States, Great Britain, France, Canada, and Australia, only the Dominican Republic agreed to accept additional refugees.

And what was Australia’s role at Evian? The Australian representative T H White, the Minister for Trade and Customs in the Lyons Government, said ‘that as we have no racial problem, we are not desirous of importing one.’

The Gillard Labor Government and Opposition have similar views today – against refugees when they talk about ‘stopping the people smugglers’ and ‘turning back the boats’. This reminds me of the St Louis in 1939.

The St Louis had almost 1000 Jewish German refugees on board. Many paid a corrupt Cuban official in Germany for entry visas to Cuba. Cuba stopped them entering. The ship sailed for the United Sates. Roosevelt’s administration refused to accept them.

The boat returned to Europe and the refugees found temporary asylum in four European countries, 3 of which the Nazis invaded. Estimates are that about a quarter of the refugees died at Hitler’s hands.

The St Louis is a real historical analogy, not nonsense analogies with the disgusting Nazi boycotts of the 30s. I wonder when the Zionists will highlight this history and condemn Labor and the Liberals for their refugee policies and actively campaign against both? They won’t because Zionism is the oppressor and sides with the Australian oppressors.

Israel is like apartheid South Africa. It is a limited democracy built on the exclusion of the majority from the country.

It is backed to the hilt by US imperialism and other colonial settler states like Australia.

The arguments of the Zionists against the BDS campaign sound eerily like the ruling class defenders of South African apartheid. We were vilified by them then just as we are vilified by the same ruling class elements and their hangers on today.

The South African resistance called for action against South Africa overseas.  That included rugby tours. It was right to respond to the cry of the oppressed then just as it is right to respond to the cry of Palestinian civil society today.

South Africa became a rainbow nation through the struggle within and the global campaign against a racist exclusivist regime. The rainbow nation of Palestine can be won with our help and the ongoing revolutions across the Arab world.

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Comments

Comment from Leonore Thompson
Time September 11, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Dear Mr Passant
Rarely have I been so offended and aghast than when I read this comment by you:

“Nazi Germany looks more like Israel today in its treatment of Palestinians than any boycotters or protesters pointing out the reality of Zionism.”

You have no understanding of apartheid. You admit to never having been to South Africa or being awareof how that unique system of governance operated. You belittel the real stuggle of black Africans by using their experience to persecute another issue. Blacks could not vote, marry, work, live any life under apartheid and yet you ignore the rights of 1.2 million Arab citizens who enjoy every equality. I should know – unlike you I have worked for an NGO in both countries.

Likewise, Zionism is not a doctrine shared by all Israeli’s (not the 1.2 million Arabs at least) nor by all Jewish people. The same way there were many white South Africans who faught against apartheid. Your comments would be akin to calling Helen Suzmann a racist, or anyother of tyhe pro-ANC white leaders who were jailed or exiled for fighting against the Nationalist Party.

I am, as I said, aghast that you throw these terms about and label whole nations and people as being homogenous. This would be akin to my saying ‘all Socialists are Stalinists’ or ‘all Canberrans are well off’.

I noticed that you also wrote that your father is in ill-health and I presume this is supposed to engender some sympathy for a relative not in good disposition. And yet, you label an entire people as akin to the worst mass murderers in history and show no compassion or even do you say that almost 50% of the population oppose the current government’s policies viz-a-viz a two state solution.

Using these types of broad generic labels is as ugly and prejudicial as those ytou claim to oppose. It is offensive and moreso, it is absolutely wrong.

Leonore

Comment from John
Time September 11, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Ah Leonore. Good try, converting my comments into something I didn’t say. Typical of Zionist liars. Zionism is carrying out and has been carrying out genocide against the Palestinians for over 60 years. That is offensive, not the fact of pointing it out. It is you who generalise Zionism as the equivalent of the Jewish people. I attack Zionism not Jews. Your exclusivist ideology is racist to the core, like apartheid. Only a rainbow nation can overcome the racism and genocide. Zionism won’t allow that. The task of people like me is to point out the brutal reality of Zionism. If you don’t like the truth of Zionism join your intellectual mates in the fascist movement protesting against BDS. No doubt they can provide you with arguments as to why Zionism isn’t genocidal.

I don’t use my father’s health On another post by the way) to win sympathy as you claim, but to point out I might be less engaged. Untruths are the stock in trade of Zionism.

Comment from John
Time September 11, 2011 at 9:31 pm

So apparently the lies of Zionism about us being anti-semitic (as they hold hands with the fascists in the anti-BDS movement) and kristallnacht references aren’t offensive? Give me a break Leonore. So sorry if the truth of Israeli occupation and ideology hurts you. It sure as hell isn’t a picnic for the Palestinians.

Comment from Terrance
Time September 11, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Good piece on Chile John. How we forget the US backed interventions in South & Central America. El Salvador is another clusterf**K by CIA. Hve you read Legacy of Ashes, the history of the CIA? If it was fiction you’d be in stitches.

PS> I’m sick of Israel/Palestine. There are much more imprtant issues here with Labor’s policy of boat people and union compliance. When workchoice MkII hits, manybe unions will wake up. And OS, Africa is going under, Europe’s about to collapse and is Buchman becomes president, we’re gonners/

PSS. Those Israli’s can’t be very good if they’ve been carrying out genocide for 60 years!!!

Cheers

Comment from John
Time September 12, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Zionism is an ideology of genocide built on lies. Those who defend it are liars.

Comment from Terrance
Time September 12, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Yep I get that mate, just saying there are plenty things built on lies – like the regional forestry agreement which will wreck Tasmania and see thousands of workers lose their jobs and probably homes too. I’m much more interested in what’s going on here that whatever bloody tribal religious war that’ll be going on in another 2000 years.

As I see it John its the NT intervension, the forest industry and the future of pristine wildreness areas, the gas-seam expansion onto farming land and the impact on our food tables that should be our focus. I really couldn’t give two hoots about a bunch of religious nutters blowing each other up.

PS I hope your Magpies are up for a big challenge in two weeks.

Comment from Interested Bystander
Time September 13, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Actually, Israel is the only nation in the Middle East that does not practice any form of apartheid:

• Jordan prohibits Jews from becoming citizens or owning land;

•Saudi Arabia practices gender apartheid;

•all Muslim countries engage in sexual-orientation apartheid, including Palestine;

•Hamas is notorious for its anti-Christian apartheid

Israel, on the other hand, is a racially diverse country that officially recognizes over 15 religions, from Islam and Christian denominations to the Baha’I Faith. 76% of Israel are Jews of different ethnicities from over 80 countries around the globe. 24% are Arabs, including Muslims, Christians, Druze and Bedouins. Arabs serve in the Knesset (Parliament), on the Supreme Court, on university faculties and even in the Cabinet. The court that recently convicted Israel’s former president of rape included an Arab judge. Nothing like this ever happened in apartheid South Africa.

Comment from John
Time September 13, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Israel just steals Palestinian land, kills its citizens, imprisons Gaza. But that’s not apartheid…. So can Palestinians return to their land? No. But that’s not apartheid. Is the same amount of money spent on Arab Israelis on say health and education? No. But that’s not apartheid. Can Arab Israelis mark the Nakba legally?No . But that’s not apartheid. Does Israel illegally occupy Palestine and illegally carry out settlements? Yes, but that’s not apartheid. Looks like a Bantustan process and limited democracy to me since the 5 million refugees cannot return and participate in Palestinian life in Palestine. The end goal is an exclusive Jewish state. The logic of 60 years expansion and dispossession is inexorable. Looks like apartheid to me. Looks like apartheid to Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and the Council of South African Trade Unions. But what would they know about apartheid. Hamas is a creature of Zionism both by direct support initially as a counterweight to the PLO and now as one expression fo the oppressed to the oppressors. Egypt’s ongoing revolution holds the key to sweeping aside Zionism and sidelining the current the democratically elected Government of Palestine, Hamas and building a rainbow nation.