Australia’s backing of apartheid Israel shameful

Gareth W R Smith, Palestine Liberation Centre, Byron Bay.

Supporters of Palestine are often asked why don’t we agitate for Tibet, the Rohinga or Russian gays instead.

The reason is simple, Australia backs apartheid Israel ignoring its appalling human rights record just as it backed Indonesia, despite its invasion of East Timor in 1975 and the subsequent loss of one third of its population.

Many supporters of East Timorese independence switched their support to Palestine once the Timorese achieved independence in 1999.

I went as a UN volunteer to Viqueque province and witnessed first hand the terror inflicted on the Timorese by the Indonesian military.

I met women who said their babies were held by the ankles by soldiers who warned that that if they voted for independence it would be known and their infants would be whipped against a tree or wall.

On the sacred mountain of Matebian I was shown a scar on the hillside which is all that remained from a cave that scores of young Timorese hid in.

An Indonesian missile scored a direct hit and buried them all alive.

Australia hounded East Timorese activists and trained the infamous Kopassus special forces in Pearce Air Force base and at Canungra in the Gold Coast hinterland.

Outside the church in Makadiki  BAe Hawk aircraft screamed just above the palm trees. One man in the crowd cried out, ‘Do we have to die again’. Pushing through the crowd I embraced him giving an assurance that the UN would stay in Timor regardless of the peoples’ choice.

Around 1pm on August 30, our ballot boxes were snatched up by CIVPOL and we were told to get the hell out of there because there was going to be a bloodbath: there was.

Australia and the rest of the world stood by doing nothing.  Now, after 50 years the Palestinians continue to die and be maimed while Israel is feted and our politicians, journalists, academics and captains of industry flock to this pariah.  Why do they have to die again?



11 responses to “Australia’s backing of apartheid Israel shameful”

  1. Jack Morris says:

    Yes the Palestinians continue to die committing acts of terrorism and other violence attacking innocent bystanders spurred on by Jew-hatred and incitement to murder by their leaders.

    • John Scrivener says:

      Hey Jack, you say “the Palestinians continue to die committing acts of terrorism and other violence attacking innocent bystanders spurred on by Jew-hatred and incitement to murder by their leaders.” Your comment exemplifies the twisted, misinformed opinions that abound in this country due to the extremely biased pro-Zionist mainstream media. It is hardly surprising that so many share your prejudiced belief when this sort of garbage has been shoved in our faces for generations, the myth of Jewish persecution at the hands of Islamic terrorists. The historical truth is the exact opposite, Palestinians have been suffering the relentless violence of Zionist terrorism for more than a century now. Just do some research and you’ll find the truth, it’s not hard

  2. Peter Hatfield says:

    There are many horrors and wrongs in the third world Gareth. Some struggles though become causes celebres and attract the left. Ironically it was the left in Australia who demonized the Dutch and supported the Javanese in their struggle to take over the Indies. Some of those many wrongs I refer to were committed under Suharto, but I know having lived there several times – I was the second Australian student allowed to study in Indonesia under Suharto – most Indonesians take a more balanced view of his regime. They recognize the gross corruption and the heavy hand of the military but they know he took over Indonesia from a internationally hostile left wing demagogue – Sukarno ; that Suharto reduced the proportion of people living in poverty form about fifty percent under Sukarno to ten percent, with better nutrition health and education; and that he kept a measure of harmony between conflicting ethnic and religious groups. He was recognised too as bulwark against communism at a time when it was very much a world wide force for evil and oppression, and was potentially such a threat in Portuguese Timor – that is why the record of Whitlam’s Wonosobo meeting with Suharto shows our PM encouraged Suharto to “integrate” East Timor which was likely to fall to the left. The Indonesian regime in East Timor was at times quite brutal against opponents, but it also brought education, health and family planning all neglected by the Portuguese (ironically the family planning, better health services and economic growth brought about a reduction in the birthrate causing a gap between the actual population and that which might have occurred under the Portuguese, and this was interpreted by some here as a genocide . Eventually the excesses and the nondemocratic practices of Suharto changed following his overthrow in the late 90s not because of the hectoring of westerners – which most Indonesians resent – but because the of the rise of an educated middle class, a result of the growing economy he brought about. It is not uncommon for people who work in a country to take the side of those around them whom they see as oppressed . I know many ex-colonials form PNG took a similar view to yours about Indonesia which they saw as a threat to “their natives”. But colouring whole countries and peoples as black or white is poor history and unhelpful in understanding conflict in the world. In respect of Israel I will not comment on the merits or otherwise of the Palestinian cause – it is but one of many conflicts in the world and I do not choose to allow the American media’s interest in the Middle East to dictate where I should focus my attentions. I must say though, as someone who was part of the famous Brisbane anti-apartheid demonstration which stopped racially selected rugby teams playing in Australia, I think you have a very poor understanding of how obnoxious such a fundamentally racially-based system apartheid was, if you apply that term to Israel.

    • John Scrivener says:

      Hey Peter, if you don’t understand that Israel is an apartheid regime then you don’t understand what apartheid means. Israel was established as an exclusively Jewish state. Non-Jews don’t have the same rights as Jews in Israel, that’s what makes it an apartheid regime. Just do some research, you’ll find the truth, it’s not hard.

      • Simon says:

        Hey John, FYI non Jews are university students, teachers, doctors, lawyers, in the army, police force and Judiciary. They are members of parliament. It was not established as an exclusively Jewish state. Any reasoned and honest appraisal does not support your contention.

        Just do some research, you’ll find the truth, it’s not hard.

      • Peter Hatfield says:

        I am sorry John – apartheid was a system that divided and discriminated against people by race, itself a contrived concept based on peoples origins and skin colour. The fundamental thinking behind Apartheid was that some people were racially inferior, a wrongful thinking that was widespread in the world and certainly in this country. So when we protested against apartheid, we protested against all who believed white people were superior intellectually and culturally, and all people and governments who discriminated by race. Protesting against the imposition of a state for Jewish people is a reasonable enough thing to do, just as is protesting for the rights of people anywhere who have their rights impinged on or who are displaced, but while it can reasonably argued that Israel is discriminatory in its treatment of Palestinians and non-Jews it is not apartheid (“apart-oid” maybe!).

        • John Scrivener says:

          Sorry Peter, you’re assuming the term “apartheid” refers to the former apartheid regime of South Africa.

          The following information is from

          “Apartheid” is a word with a very specific legal meaning, as defined by the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1973 and ratified by most United Nations member states (Israel and the United States are exceptions, to their shame).

          According to Article II of that convention, the term applies to acts “committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.” Denying those others the right to life and liberty, subjecting them to arbitrary arrest, expropriating their property, depriving them of the right to leave and return to their country or the right to freedom of movement and of residence, creating separate reserves and ghettos for the members of different racial groups, preventing mixed marriages — these are all examples of the crime of apartheid specifically mentioned in the convention.

          Seeing the reference to racial groups here, some people might think of race in a putatively biological sense or as a matter of skin color. That is a rather simplistic (and dated) way of thinking about racial identity. More to the point, however, the operative definition of “racial identity” is provided in the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (to which Israel is a signatory), on which the apartheid convention explicitly draws.

          There, the term “racial discrimination” is defined as “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”

          A few basic facts are now in order.

          The Jewish state (for so it identifies itself, after all) maintains a system of formal and informal housing segregation both in Israel and in the occupied territories. It’s obvious, of course, that Jewish settlements in the West Bank aren’t exactly bursting with Palestinians. In Israel itself, however, hundreds of communities have been established for Jewish residents on land expropriated from Palestinians, in which segregation is maintained, for example, by admissions committees empowered to use ethnic criteria long since banned in the United States, or by the inability of Palestinian citizens to access land held exclusively for the Jewish people by the state-sanctioned Jewish National Fund.

          Jewish residents of the occupied territories enjoy various rights and privileges denied to their Palestinian neighbors. While the former enjoy the protections of Israeli civil law, the latter are subject to the harsh provisions of military law. So, while their Jewish neighbors come and go freely, West Bank Palestinians are subject to arbitrary arrest and detention, and to the denial of freedom of movement; they are frequently barred from access to educational or healthcare facilities, Christian and Muslim sites for religious worship, and so on.

          Meanwhile, Palestinian citizens of Israel must contend with about 50 state laws and bills that, according to the Palestinian-Israeli human rights organization Adalah, either privilege Jews or directly discriminate against the Palestinian minority. One of the key components of Israel’s nationality law, the Law of Return, for example, applies to Jews only, and excludes Palestinians, including Palestinians born in what is now the state of Israel. While Jewish citizens can move back and forth without interdiction, Israeli law expressly bars Palestinian citizens from bringing spouses from the occupied territories to live with them in Israel.

          And so it goes in all domains of life, from birth to death: a systematic, vigilantly policed separation of the two populations and utter contempt for the principle of equality. One group — stripped of property and rights, expelled, humiliated, punished, demolished, imprisoned and at times driven to the edge of starvation (down to the meticulously calculated last calorie) — has withered. The other group — its freedom of movement and of development not merely unrestricted but actively encouraged — has flourished, and its religious and cultural symbols adorn the regalia of the state and are emblazoned on the state flag.

          The question is not whether the term “apartheid” applies here. It is why it should cause such an outcry when it is used.

  3. John Scrivener says:

    Anyone interested in learning the truth about the creation of Israel and the root causes of terrorism in the Middle East would do well to read State of Terror – How terrorism created modern Israel, by Thomas Suarez.

    “A tour de force, based on diligent archival research that looks boldly at the impact of Zionism on Palestine and its people in the first part of the 20th century. The book is the first comprehensive and structured analysis of the violence and terror employed by the Zionist movement, and later the state of Israel, against the people of Palestine. Much of the suffering we witness today can be explained by, and connected to, this formative period covered thoroughly in this book.”

    • Simon says:

      Hey John, thought you might be interested in reading some other reviews of this book.

      “The book is so biased and contains so many untruths, distorted quotes and unsubstantiated allegations, that one must conclude that it would never have seen the light of day, were it not for the fact that the publisher is Karl Sabbagh’s new company. (Sabbagh thinks Israel is responsible for global anti-Semitism.) ”

      “The truth – surely – is that no mainstream publisher wanted to risk publishing such a shoddy and biased distortion of the truth.”

      Just do some research, You’ll find the truth, its not hard.

      • John Scrivener says:

        Hey Simon, I used to believe the mainstream pro-Zionist narrative until I did some research and discovered the truth.

  4. Duncan says:

    Why Israel?

    I think Jake Lynch summed it up in his keynote speech at the 2015 Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Conference in Byron Shire. The facts are all there, you will find the truth, it is not hard.

    Many countries are involved in Apartheid, religious persecution, non-declaration of nuclear weapons, marginalisation of minorities, war crimes, breaches of international law and UN conventions including the targeting of civilians during warfare, the transfer of the population of the occupier to occupied territory, unlawful annexation of territory, oppression of indigenous people, laying siege to a civilian population, arrest and administrative detention of children, extra-judicial murder, state-sponsored terrorism, economic warfare …

    It is only Israel that does all of these things and that is why it is a legitimate target for opposition.

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