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Byron Shire
January 21, 2022

Zionists given a free pass

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Hans Lovejoy, editor of the Byron Shire Echo, posted on Facebook today that a local Israeli business owner is calling him an antisemite for publishing letters critical of Israel and is contemplating boycotting The Echo. No doubt the letters referred to include ones by Gareth Smith and Bassam and Anne Shomali.

Welcome to the club, Hans, of those who refuse to be bowed by the Zionist lobby – whose main work is to whitewash the crimes of the state of Israel and are labelled ‘antisemites’ for this reason. It’s clear there are many Zionists living and working in the northern rivers region. These Zionist fanatics equate criticism of Israel with criticism of Jews, forgetting that the severest critics of Zionism are Jews themselves, as they have seen the best libertarian and radical traditions of Judaism perverted by Zionism and watched Israel descend into Jewish fascism.

For too long, these local Zionists have been given a free pass, largely due to the a-political, apathetic and downright naive attitude of most folk living the sun-kissed life in the rainbow region. However, due to the courageous, decades-long resistance of Palestinians, due to the brave Israelis who speak out against apartheid Israel, due to social media like Facebook and to the efforts of independent media like The Echo, this veil of ignorance is being rent asunder. And Zionists don’t like what the rest of the world can witness, minus their hasbara. They will do their damnedest to stop the flow of information, using their power to prevent the truth from being known, even if it’s in the form of a letter to the editor.

It’s bizarre that the Zionist interlocutor should compared Hans to Rupert Murdoch – an arch-Zionist himself. Or want to boycott The Echo. It’s bizarre, because, more and more, it’s Zionist Israel that’s being boycotted via the very successful global, civil society Boycott, Disinvestments and Sanctions movement (BDS). Whether it’s the United Methodist Church, the largest Protestant church in the US with over five million members, divesting from Israeli banks that operate in the occupied territories (NYT, 12 Jan); or academic boycotts from institutions and unions in countries as diverse as the US, Canada, South Africa, India, Ireland, Chile & Brazil; or boycotts by artists and intellectuals including Gill Scott Heron, Cassandra Wilson, Carlos Santana, Naomi Klein, Jean Luc Goddard, Arundhati Roy, John Berger and Angela Davis, to name just a few, the BDS movement grows and grows.

Apartheid Israel’s days are numbered and Zionists everywhere, including here in the Byron shire, are very worried. And so they should be. Truth will out!

Harsha Prabhu, Byron Bay

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  1. Thanks Harsha for your unapologetic words of truth!
    We definitely need to be more aware in these times of the impact and location that zionists are infiltrating..
    But please stay safe as I know from experience the extremists can be very ilogical with their thinking and become dangerous and destructive.
    We really need to wake up and pull the shire out from their clutches!

  2. You guys crack me up “Zionist fanatics” “Jewish fascism” “the veil of ignorance is being rent asunder”, one person rings up to complain and threatens to boycott a newspaper and suddenly the dark and sinister “Zionist Lobby” is coming to get you. Get a grip!!! . There is a whole BDS movement aimed at crippling the Israeli economy but “nothing to see here, no conspiracy at all”.

    If you have a look, Gareth and his ilk start all this by continually publishing (in the opinion of some) unbalanced and uninformed opinions about Israel. People who do not agree are responding, this is how a democracy works.

    But no, you see it clearly. When Jews or Zionists exercise their right to reply, it now becomes the stereotypical plot to undermine society. Thanks Rose for your sagely advice as you know from experience? “the extremists can be very illogical with their thinking and become dangerous and destructive”. (Some of you need to go back and read what you are writing- and you are calling others extremist)

    Obviously you guys in the local Pro Palestinian club have had a meeting recently and given everyone the task of writing a letter, well good on you for having a go !!!. to bad you have nothing interesting or incite full to write. just the same old paranoid rantings that have been heard for centuries.

  3. Hans, I’m happy to have read your FB post and I support you for standing up to the bully. I’m certain Harsha’s letter above echoes many people critics and opinion regarding the matter. Keep going with your good works, Hans and so to you, Harsha.. and thanks again for speaking out, especially when some of us are not articulate enough in expressing our critics.
    I love the Echo, its the only newspaper I read for the past 8 years. Hans you’re nothing like Murdoch and if someone doesn’t like your above letter, Harsha, well thats just their bad luck!

  4. I feel so sad reading the amount of hate, lies, fear and racism in the one article. I don’t even know where to begin correcting all the wrongs that you write. Israel is not an apartheid country. It is very complicated -yes. A lot of issues -yes. But it is the only democratic country in the Middle East. The only place where all people are free to practice their religions. The only place it is safe to be gay. To be black. To be white. To be Jewish. To be Muslim. It is a country that in 60 years achieved more than any other country on the globe. The complexity of the situation is far greater than you will ever be able to comprehend. The so called zionists infiltrators that you are talking about are Australian citizens. People who work hard, pay their taxes and obey the law. Lead by example. Stop spreading hate. Practice what you preach. But first go back to the history books. Learn about the conflict in the Middle East. A conflict the stretch back to world war 1. Long before zionists took over the world. And maybe than we can have an intelligent discussion.

    • Well said Yonit.

      Israel is the only tolerant society in the region; an example of true democracy. The lies and hatred are coming thick and fast now and as our history shows, these people suffer from a disease that harms Jews. We are the indigenous people of Israel and we have lived there for over 3000 years. We sometimes fail as do many others, but our laws are fair and all citizens are treated equally as you said, regardless of race or creed. Our Israeli society is multicultural and multi faith. All have equal opportunity. Gareth has bombarded you with a long list of books supporting his so-called cause. How patronising. As if we are unaware of our own history and that of the region. We’ll do what we always do. Keep living, showing kindness and sharing all we have to offer to make this world (and the Northern Rivers) a better place.

    • Sorry Yonit but the conflict in the middle east goes back further than World War 1. A lot further. And the ‘complexity’ of the situation – as you allude to, is not actually far greater than any of us could comprehend. Those of us discerning enough anyway to understand. Finally, Israel has achieved nothing more than any other country on this planet that sets it apart – especially in the 60 year time period you mention. Nothing. Conflict currently exists from numerous sources with numerous backings, with varying motives, on both sides of the fence. I suggest that for people who are interested, find out for yourself the origins of the conflict, and form your own opinions.

  5. I’m afraid that Simon’s dismissive reply above no longer washes with a lot of us. People everywhere are waking up to the fact that the hideous face of Zionism has been hiding behind traditional Judaism for too long. It’s the poison of Zionism that makes Judaism look bad. And it’s Zionism, not Judaism that is perpetrating the Hell that Palestinians are forced to live in. Let’s face it, Palestine is rapidly becoming one enormous concentration camp. It’s a sad fact that many of the decent Jews in Israel have allowed themselves to be swayed by Zionist power which has Palestinian genocide as its main agenda. But I guess it’s not that different to how the public everywhere continues to be sucked in by the need for relentless war.

    Simon’s view, either knowingly or unknowingly, that Hans and Harsha are espousing “unbalanced and uninformed opinions about Israel” is exactly the kind of Zionist spin that prevents the very balance we need to find.

  6. I’m all for an open intelligent discussion and I’m not afraid of opinions, although I’ve seen more than once how opinions enslave people. I do not agree with Israel’s government policy, I do not think of myself as Zionist and I object the occupation of the Palestinian people and support their right for emancipation. BUT I also sense the hypocrisy oozing through the words pointing at the ‘Zionists of the northern rivers’. I live in the shire for 13 years now, very happy to call this Rainbow region my home, and in all my years here I never met a “Zionist”. It is hard to believe that those who on the surface go against discrimination and generalisations, are so readily labelling others.

  7. Well, interesting article.

    Now let me see if I get this right?

    On 2 separate occasions in the above article Israel was labelled as an Apartheid state. Obviously the author doesn’t know the meaning of Apartheid! I have been to Israel, and I have seen with my own eyes that it is not an apartheid state. Arab doctors, lawyers, teacher, politicians, all live and work together in harmony with people of all religions. Not just judaism!

    Without getting into a debate about the Israel/Palestine issue, I will say this…..

    With all the atrocities occurring all around the world, why is the byron shire, and more importantly an Independent newspaper like the Echo, showing so much interest in the Israel/Palestinian conflict?

    I smell anti semitism, right down to the bone. No doubt about it.

    the fact is that the above author and the Editor of the echo, are quite ignorant to the facts.

  8. Yonit, Have you studied any of the following: Ilan Pappé: “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”, “The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge” and “The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel”. Jeff Halper: “An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel”, “War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification”, Haaretz journalists Gideon Levy: “The Punishment of Gaza” and Amira Hass, “Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land under siege”. I salute all the courageous IDF veterans in Breaking the Silence who have confessed to the crimes against humanity they were ordered to conduct (Our Harsh Logic: Israeli Soldiers’ Testimonies from the Occupied Territories, 2000 – 2010″). All of them Jews!.

    As a proud member of Byron Friends of Palestine which includes Jews and Palestinians, I stand in solidarity with Jews of conscience in Yesh Gvul, Gush Shallom, B’tselem, Tikkun, Jews Against the Occupation, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and the courageous young Shministim who prefer jail to military service in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, says that support for Palestine is sweeping the US and that JVP reached over 16 million people in 2013, a 300% increase over 2012. “We nearly doubled our income, and by the end of 2015 our staff will be twice as big as it was last year – including a new Congressional Liaison based in DC” ([email protected]).

    A letter condemning “the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza” signed by 327 Holocaust survivors and their relatives concludes: “We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people. We call for an immediate end to the siege against blockade of Gaza. We call for the full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel. “Never again” must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE'” (http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.612072).

    Yonit, why don’t you do your research and, difficult though it is, question the values of your own upbringing like Lia Tarachansky whose film “On the Side of the Road” we will soon screen in Byron. Come and see it and let’s converse together.


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