QED

A Good Word for Melbourne’s Queer Film Festival

The Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF), I suspect, is not an event to which many Quadrant readers will have rushed to secure tickets. This fixture on the LGBT-etc calendar, squeezed in between Carols by Queerlight (self-explanatory) and Southern HiBearnation (no, Google ‘bear’ for yourselves) offers attendees two weeks of cinematic merry-making, or so I’d been led to believe. The theme of this year’s event, I’m sorry to report, is frequent sniping and a decided lack of chirpiness, and I see little prospect of renewed cheer occurring before closing night.

The trouble began with the inclusion in the lineup of Adam Kalderon’s film The Swimmer, a story about a gay Olympics prospect, the institutional discrimination he faces and his struggle for self-acceptance. Topical and important issues, the reviewers would say. The film also features, I have been reliably informed, lingering close-ups of strapping young fellows in Speedos. For many viewers, that all sounds like a jolly night at the cinema, so one could be excused for wondering what all the bloody fuss is about.

Well, The Swimmer, you see, is an Israeli production, and it turns out that screening such a film is something of a festival faux pas. As soon as the incriminating schedule arrived in the inbox, there was a good deal of inquiry as to why MQFF had failed to adopt the expected policy of anti-Israel fanaticism. A vigorous social media campaign soon got underway, urging MQFF to drop the film, apologise for all the bruised feelings, and commit to being a better ally in the future.

This noisy reaction is due to the fact that some portion of the festival’s supporters also happen to be enlistees in Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), a movement which seeks to extirpate all traces of Israel’s business, cultural and general dealings with the rest of the world. One of the many accusations they bung around is pinkwashing, a term which calls for a bit of elucidation.

Unlike Iran or Nigeria, where authorities punish homosexuals by hanging or stoning, Israel is welcoming and tolerant of all, a fact which has caused a lot of grumpiness on the contemporary Left. For its critics, Israel’s celebration of its LGBT community through film and other means is a slick but sinister marketing trick: under the cover of social progressivism, Israel hides its violent apartheid and genocide and, well, you know the rest of the chargesheet by now.

Such a worldview fired up the protestors of The Swimmer, as they denounced a film that none of them had seen and waited for MQFF to capitulate. I can happily report that they didn’t have to wait long for an answer: MQFF’s statement didn’t quite tell everyone to stick those complaints up their fundament, but it was somewhat implied.

The organisation made a number of cogent points: the majority of the festival’s films receives government funding, so it’s silly to single out Israel for criticism on this basis; The Swimmer has bugger all to do with the Israel-Palestine conflict, so quit bringing it up; and MQFF’s commitment to diversity means a serious commitment to showing content that not everyone will like, so ha ha ha to the lot of you. Alright, I may have embellished the subtext a little, but the meaning was clear to all.

Unfortunately, none of this led to an outbreak of common sense, and the criticism of MQFF became, I think you’ll agree, a bit hyperbolic. There was loose talk of MQFF’s being “complicit in torture” as well as assertions that hosting cinemas had become dangerous spaces for Melbourne’s queer Palestinian community.

The drama then heightened with some high-profile resignations. Co-president Molly Whelan was the first to go, and in her statement she added to the bill of complaint the usual stuff about the cisheteropatriarchy and whatnot. Nayuka Gorrie, the arson enthusiast featured on ABC’s Q&A, followed her out the door, saying she felt “sick and sad” about the whole rotten business. Alongside her blather about settler colonialism, she reminded MQFF it was not too late to cancel the film and end up — where else? — on the right side of history.

Nevertheless, MQFF held its ground and the screening of The Swimmer got underway. The aforementioned queer Palestinian community, channeling just a touch of the zeal for which Hamas is known, turned up in protest at the Jam Factory, waving banners and chanting that ditty about Palestine being free, you know, from the river to the sea. These scenes, which were a bit predictable, involved the authorities turning up and dispersing the crowd. The complainants, many of whom naturally favour police abolition, found this final act especially dispiriting.

Yes, I know: it’s amusing to watch the Left beat itself up. When you’re watching a display like this, it’s tempting simply to tuck into the popcorn and enjoy the show.

On that note, perhaps some good can be rescued from the kerfuffle. All that banging on about the value of inclusiveness and diversity and dialogue looks risible and insincere now, doesn’t it? It would be nice if more people were to realise that, especially those on the left, the ones who have to watch their every word. We mustn’t get our hopes up too much, but this event may even foretoken the crackup of the identitarian movements scattering terror and desolation everywhere they go, so that’s a cheering thought.

Although they may shudder to hear it from from Quadrant, I think we should offer three hearty cheers for the Melbourne Queer Film Festival. The words ‘cancel culture’ get flung around too often nowadays, but this affair should strike all sensible people as a clear demonstration of the concept in action. It also highlights how much attempted cancelling goes on within left-wing political coalitions, as opposed to struggles against the traditional enemy i.e. chaps like me. For what it’s worth, I dislike cancel culture on both the left and the right, so I’m very pleased to see MQFF showing some spine.

On that bright note, perhaps everyone can learn an old lesson. There was a time, you may recall, when people registered their objection to a film via the radical notion of grumpily choosing not to see it, and then staying home. Doesn’t that sound refreshing and wonderful?

Timothy Cootes is a regular contributor. This article was published at MercatorNet

32 comments
  • DougD

    “The aforementioned queer Palestinian community, channeling just a touch of the zeal for which Hamas is known, turned up in protest at the Jam Factory, waving banners and chanting that ditty about Palestine being free, you know, from the river to the sea. These scenes, which were a bit predictable, involved the authorities turning up and dispersing the crowd. ” I hope Victoria Police made the queer Palestinian community protesters feel right at home by sending in the public order squad armed with their Israeli army-style rubber bullet firing guns.

  • Blair

    Is there a Gaza Queer Film Festival GQFF)?

  • Ian MacKenzie

    Anyone opposing the racist BDS is to be commended. In this case the departure of Whelan and Gorrie is just the icing on the cake.

  • rosross

    And the South Africans excelled at sport but were still the target of those wishing to end apartheid. It is the same for the colonial military regime of Israel, which, while it waves a flag of tolerance for ‘queers’ is not in the least tolerant of non-Jewish Palestinians, of whom it holds 6 million under occupation as it continues to colonise their country.
    When Israel joins the modern democratic world and ends its occupation of Palestine, providing justice, freedom and human and civil rights to the 6 million indigenous people of the land it has colonised, and equal rights for non-Jews in UN Mandated Israel, then it may export to the world whatever it chooses without fear of boycotts.

  • rosross

    @Blair,

    Gaza is a prison in Occupied Palestine. Dubbed ‘the world’s largest open-air prison, including by a UK Prime Minister, it may well wish to have such a festival but who would know since the Israelis dictate who and what goes in and out of the prison gates.

  • Adam J

    The Left only likes Jews when they aren’t patriotic, proud, and independent. There’s a lesson for all Australians there.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Oh, dear! It’s disappointing seeing blatant anti-semitism rearing its ugly head here in Quadrant. I presume that given rosross’s evident anticolonialism, the above has been written from their ancestral lands. If so, well done, putting your money where your mouth is by divesting yourself of your Australian property and returning it to the original Aboriginal ownership. If not, your hypocrisy is there in all its glaring luminescence for us all to see.

    There’s no point in us detailing all the many inaccuracies in rosross’s description of the status quo in Israel. Nor is it likely to help dispel such profound ignorance and bigotry by setting out the postwar history of the region. Suffice it that we invite rosross to outline the national and international actions that should be taken to solve this wicked problem. Solution implies acceptance by all interested parties and no bloodshed.
    Good luck with that.

  • STD

    My sentiments exactly,DT.

  • Adam J

    I would just to add to Doubting Thomas that Israel is not the product of colonialism. As Prof Ilan Troen writes:
    “In Israel there is no New Bialystok, there is no New Moscow, there is no New Berlin, there is no New Europe. Nor is there a New Baghdad or New Casablanca.”
    Source:
    https://academicengagement.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Troen-Pamphlet-Final.pdf

  • Katzenjammer

    DbtTom – No-one should invite an ignoramus like rosros to submitt anything.
    Her/his/it/their/ze opinions are worthless garbage.

  • STD

    The dictionary definition of queer; is odd, is strange.
    Most of the GDP ( WELFARE) of Gaza is donated by the generosity of the United States and the European Union. Only a small portion is supplied by their fellow brothers in the Arab league- well I’ll be buggered ,how queer is that?
    The Palestinian political and military element Hamas receives funding (aggravated funding- welfare) to kill and terrorise Israel’s citizens from none other than that august personage of Islam ( pronounced eye[i] slam) Iran ( pronounced , i ran).
    The Arab-Israel war- of which 80% of the Arab population fled or had to be expelled- how strange is that, they wouldn’t fight for their land. Oh I see they wanted all Semitic occupiers to die defending it ,presumably .

    Me thinks rosross has what can only be called ,rage reversal syndrome.
    Begs the question, will anger management ensue?

  • rosross

    @Doubting Thomas – anti-semitism is a hatred of Judaism and its followers, Jews. Please by all means carefully take apart what I have said and demonstrate clearly that it fits the definition of anti-semitism. We both know you cannot. But if you can I am prepared to correct my writing.

    I am not anti colonisation, for colonisation has been a critical part of human evolution until we reached a point more than a century ago when it was no longer ‘needed.’ The Zionist colonisation of Palestine was something of an anomaly in 1947 and is certainly an anomaly today. As is the Indonesian colonisation of West Papua to name another colonial atrocity.

    However, I have no issue with Israel existing I just have an issue with the colonial apartheid State holding 6 million Christians and Muslims under brutal occupation and denying them justice, freedom, reparation and human and civil rights. We both know that if Australia or any other nation calling itself a Western democracy did to the indigenous people of the country it has colonised, what Israel does to the Palestinians, because they are not followers of Judaism there would be outrage and rightly so.

    We also know that Israel has never had an issue with Palestinians or Arabs because in 1947 it offered citizenship to all Palestinian Arab Jews. The discrimination has only ever been religious, i.e. against non-Jews.

    As to comparisons with Australia, the Aboriginal peoples were quickly made English subjects and have had for centuries full rights in law and as citizens. Israel occupies all of Palestine and the indigenous people have no rights and non-Jews in Israel are second class citizens according to international and Israeli human rights groups who deem it an apartheid State.

    Israel’s existence is accepted as long as it does one of two things, the first probably now made impossible by Israel’s actions:

    1. return to UN Mandated borders and allow a Palestinian State which is totally independent and which controls its own land, air and sea borders with its capital in East Jerusalem. Or negotiate contiguous borders for each fully independent State.

    2. create one State with equal rights for the indigenous Palestinians and their colonisers, a democracy, where the land is shared equally.

    And to correct your necessary misinterpretation – Aboriginal peoples were not a united peoples but they were the indigenous people of this land just like the Palestinians in 1947 when close to a million were driven out or killed and more than 500 Palestinian villages were wiped from the face of the earth by Zionist armies – but not from British Mandate maps.

    Religions do not make a people beyond religious metaphor and do not get land rights or self-determination. If Jews had that right then all religions would have the same right. So, Jews just like Christians and Muslims etc., CANNOT be indigenous to anywhere.

    Beyond your poor grasp of history the reality is that Israel if it wishes to be a Western democracy cannot continue to colonise Palestine and cannot continue to deny human and civil rights to its indigenous people. If the Israelis had been smart they would have stayed behind their UN Mandated borders or created one State long ago. The current situation is an atrocity in the world and self-created by Israel.

    Younger generations often do not know the past ‘reasons’ or excuses for setting up a State called Israel in Palestine and in this age many even if they know, including a lot of younger Jews, do not care because it is just WRONG.

    Anyone who cares about Israel should be fighting to bring it to its senses and not entrench it further into this mire of apartheid tyranny. I have worked with and for Israelis and I believe they have been totally betrayed by those who claim to be their friends. None of this mess would have been created without the support of those sitting safely in other countries around the world, funnelling funds and fury into Israeli paranoia.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Ignoring the obfuscation, you seem to be unaware that it was the Arabs who went to war against Israel. It was the Arab nations who advised the modern-day Palestinian refugees to flee Israel to escape the hellfire and destruction that they planned to rain down on the Israelis. Their relatively enormous and well-armed forces were so inept that tiny Israeli land and air forces were not only able to defeat them comprehensively, but also were able to siege and hold extensive Arab lands gaining a significant buffer against future attacks. Of course, unlike other nations in similar conflict, Israel was effectively forced by the ridiculously corrupt United Nations to surrender most of those gains.
    It is the Arab nations who keep the refugees and their myriad descendants in the squalor of the refugee camps. Obviously, this eternal pool of malcontents and “victims” suits the purposes of Israel’s enemies. As for the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, it is not Israel that governs those ceded areas. It is not Israel that initiates attacks on Gaza. They only ever respond to attacks on Israel, launched by terrorists who, as a matter of deliberate policy, hide behind women and children to discourage counter attacks.
    Given the constant threat by the Muslim nations literally to destroy Israel and Jews wherever they find them, it would be an act of utter insanity for the Jews to share power in a single nation with “Palestinians” whose numbers, augmented by the millions of returning refugees and their offspring, would soon seize government and the power to fulfill their plans.
    You really do need to start reading much more widely, rosross.

  • Doubting Thomas

    First “siege” should be “seize”.

  • Brian Boru

    All opinions should be heard and debated not cancelled as the Palestinian queer protesters wanted.
    .
    Rosross is probably correct in the two options mentioned for ultimate settlement of this issue.
    .
    The Jewish side accepted the 1947 UN plan for the establishment of two states. The Arabs rejected it and launched a war of annihilation against the Jewish state.
    .
    And therein lies the main obstacle for peace. If the Palestinians would only demonstrate a willingness to peacefully coexist, then I believe the Israelis would be overjoyed.
    .
    But, until the Palestinians and their Hamas masters so demonstrate, the Israelis will be forced to keep to their present position. Such is the hatred of the Palestinians that I think it would now take about another 50 or 60 years of peace before the Israelis we’re confident enough to move the way Rosross suggests.
    .
    I respectfully suggest to Rosross that they should counsel the Palestinians to cease the rocket fire into Israel and the dancing in the street at U.S. tragedy’s.

  • rosross

    You said: Ignoring the obfuscation, you seem to be unaware that it was the Arabs who went to war against Israel.

    And you ignore the history. If Zionist Europeans had not invaded Palestine to set up their own religious State then the Palestinians would not have called on Arab allies to help them, just as the French and Poles called on their Allies when they were invaded.

    In short, if there had been no invasion and colonisation of Palestine there would have been no resistance.

    You said: It was the Arab nations who advised the modern-day Palestinian refugees to flee Israel to escape the hellfire and destruction that they planned to rain down on the Israelis.

    Even Israeli historians have refuted that particular piece of propaganda. However, even if you run with it perhaps explain why and how the Zionist armies decided to eradicate, wipe from the face of the earth, more than 500 Palestinian villages. Have you heard of Deir Yassin, one of the worst massacres? Yad Vashem is built on Deir Yassin land.

    However, let us put the history and ‘who did what’ to one side. Here is the reality. Israel occupies all of Palestine and not only that has continued to colonise it illegally. Israel’s only potentially defensible borders in law, remain the UN Mandate.

    Israel had and has no right to continue building illegal settlements across Occupied Palestine. It makes a mockery of its claims to want peace.

    But, the reasons for this travesty are easy to find in the history books, including those written by Israeli historians:
    Quote:
    “We came to a region of land that was inhabited by Arabs, and we set up a Jewish state. … Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either.”
    – Former Israel Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, 1969

    “We’ll make a pastrami sandwich out of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlements in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlements right across the West Bank, so that in twenty-five years’ time, neither the United Nations nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.” – Ariel Sharon, 1973 (who later became Israel’s Prime Minister)

    Of course all of this makes two states impossible and since Israel cannot kill 6 million Palestinian Christians and Muslims – such a bad look – and neither can it remove them without first removing all the illegal settlers across Occupied Palestine first – which would give the game away, a one-state solution is the only solution left.

    Israel won’t be a Jewish theocracy but it can be a democracy. It might be called Palestine again as it has been for 5,000 years, but justice will be done.

    You really do need to start reading much more widely, Doubting Thomas.

  • rosross

    @Brian Boru,

    Just to clarify what you are saying. The Palestinians seeing their land, homes and country taken over by foreign colonists should have just said, sure, take what you want and we will settle for what you leave us?

    Can you name one other colonised people in history who did that and opted not to fight back? I can think of none?

    Today, as an occupied, colonised and powerless people the Palestinians are totally at the mercy of Israel. Israel has all of the power and all of the responsibility.

    You said: The Jewish side accepted the 1947 UN plan for the establishment of two states.

    Of course they did. They had already by then been planning to colonise Palestine for close to a century. What a gift? The UN had no right to partition Palestine and Zionists had no right to colonise it.

    You said: The Arabs rejected it

    No, Arabs did not reject it the Palestinians rejected it and who would not have done the same? By the way, if we are going to talk cultures, Arabs then we need to call the Israelis Europeans. Apples with apples.

    You said: and launched a war of annihilation against the Jewish state.

    A defensive war against invaders and occupiers, sure. Just like the French and Poles and pretty much every other people in history. Are you saying that it was wrong for the French to resist German occupation? Why were the Palestinians wrong to try to defend their land?
    .
    You said: And therein lies the main obstacle for peace.

    The issue is not about peace although that is the word Israel uses. This, was and will only ever be about justice for the Palestinians who have had their land, homes, artefacts stolen by European colonisers. There can be no peace without justice.

    You said: If the Palestinians would only demonstrate a willingness to peacefully coexist, then I believe the Israelis would be overjoyed.

    So, if you believe that, how do you explain the incitement demonstrated by Israel in building illegal Jewish settlements across Occupied Palestine, connected by roads only Jews can use? Do you really see that as peaceful co-existence? It doesn’t look like it to the Palestinians or anyone.

    Why would Israel act to make two States impossible if its ultimate goal was not to take and hold all of Palestine? Nothing peaceful in that just as there was nothing peaceful in the invasion and occupation of Palestine in 1947/48. Israel just has to get rid of 6 million Muslim and Christian Palestinians. Nothing peaceful in that either.

  • Brian Boru

    rosross. Your first point was to agree on the UN mandated borders.
    .
    You have now conceded that the Palestinians were the agressers against that settlement.
    .
    Although I am not an historian, I know enough to understand that the Jews originated in the middle east.
    .
    I have with my own eyes seen the tattoed numbers on the forearms of the survivors of the death camps. They were not colonisers in my view but indigenous with a right to live in peace.

  • Adam J

    Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people, also called the Hebrew people. It is not merely a religious group.

    The assertion that the Jews are just a religious group rather than an ethno-national group is an exclusively modern one which Jews in Europe were forced into. The Enlightenment sentiment in Europe was that freedom of religion is a good thing but multi-racial, multi-ethnic states were not. Jews were therefore offered a hangman’s bargain: renounce your ethnicity and get religious rights in return, or keep your ethnicity and live in the ghetto.

    This is the same position that modern-day anti-Zionists adopt for the State of Israel: renounce your Jewishness and be treated nicely, or keep your Jewishness and suffer. Either way, the point is to give control of the Jewish identity to non-Jewish bullies. And that is anti-Jewish.

    Anti-semitism is not merely “hatred of Judaism and its followers”. It is the name of the anti-Jewish prejudice, a prejudice against anyone or anything because of their possession of a Jewish attribute. Burning a Jewish bookshop because it’s Jewish is anti-Jewish. Vandalising a Jewish cemetary because it’s Jewish is anti-Jewish. Attacking Israel because it’s Jewish is anti-Jewish. That people call it anti-Zionism makes no difference; likewise it makes no difference if every Jew is a Zionist or if some Jews also hate Israel. What matters is that Jewish nationalism is a Jewish attribute and that Israel by nature possesses it, and she is being targeted on that basis.

    Israel does not have an official religion and it does not compel non-Jews to participate in Jewish society and neither is there legally sanctioned discrimination against them. Arabs in Israel have Islamic schools that teach in Arabic and teach the Quran in accordance with the curriculum set by the Arabic department of Education ministry. They can also take Fridays off and have Sharia Law courts to settle civil and religious disputes: these are regulated, funded, and appointed by the Justice department. Minorities in Israel do not have to serve in the army except for the Arabic-speaking Druze who have their own units. However they can voluntarily join and many do and therefore there are many dedicated Arabic-speaking units. Non-Jews in Israel are integrated at every level of society. This is not apartheid but multiculturalism. Real, genuine multiculturalism which you won’t find in Australia.

    Israeli culture is not European and the suggestion that it is appears is laughable. Israeli culture is an indigenous Jewish culture that includes elements of the cultures of Jews who lived abroad in the diaspora.

    “One of the most prevalent myths about Israel is that it is organized on the
    basis of religion. Yet the principle on which the state is founded is that the
    basis of Jewish identity is purely, or even mainly, a matter of peoplehood.
    True, the primary indicator of that identity is religion—at least in terms of
    the historic background of its individual members—but identity is not based on a theological viewpoint or a theocratic worldview. For example, Spain, Poland, and Italy are historically Catholic countries, yet their basis for
    national identity is primarily one of peoplehood and common history, not
    religion.

    “In contrast to other modern religions, Judaism is a faith related to only a
    single people. Yet what appears to be a religious word—“Jewish”—actually
    refers to religion and national identity simultaneously. This extended
    meaning is made instantly clear by substituting words historically used to
    describe Jews that have a clear national reference, such as “Israelite” or
    “Hebrew.” Of course, like a Spanish, Polish, or Italian Catholic immigrant
    to other lands, a Jew can choose to assimilate into a different national
    culture whether or not he or she retains the original Jewish religion”
    – = Israel An Introduction by Barry Rubin

    “In ancient days the spring rains that fed the land were stored in cisterns or brought back to the surface by a multitude of wells, anddistributed over the country by a network of canals; this was the physical basis of Jewish civilization. The soil, so nourished, produced barley, wheat and corn, the vine throve on it, and trees bore olives, figs, dates or other fruits on every slope. When war came and devastated these artifically fertile fields, or when some conqueror exiled to distant regions the families that had cared for them, the desert crept in eagerly, and in a few years undid the work of generations. We cannot judge the fruitfulness of ancient Palestine from the barren wastes and timid oases that confronted the brave Jews who in our own time returned to their old home after eighteen centuries of exile, dispersion and suffering.”
    – = Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant

    Conclusion: ignore the ignorant troll and read a good book instead.

  • STD

    @AdamJ, that is brilliant , a fantastic piece of truth and understanding- well worth the journey, thank you ,indeed.

  • rosross

    @ Brian Boru,

    I did not agree on the UN Mandated borders. I said, if Israel could possibly defend any borders in a court of law it was only the UN Mandated borders. The UN mandate was certainly immoral and probably illegal. They have not been tested in a court of law and by my understanding were never fully mandated anyway. Not that it matters, the legal system could and should sort that out.

    Are you saying you agree that all violence and wrongs have arisen from the original UN Mandate? I would agree with that.

    I fail to see how any invaded and occupied people can be aggressors.
    Are you saying that the French and Polish Resistance were the aggressors? If you say the Palestinians are for resisting their occupation then, as a matter of principle you are saying that the Germans were in the right and the French and Poles were in the wrong.

    You said: Although I am not an historian, I know enough to understand that the Jews originated in the middle east.

    Yes, in what is now Iraq but where a religion develops or is invented is irrelevant and confers no rights to land. Christianity and Islam also originated in the same region but that confers no rights, as one might argue did Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism which are not so far away.

    For example, Christians founded Istanbul once called Constantinople and before that Byzantium but they have no rights to it. Christians founded many cities in India but have no rights to them. Followers of Minerva founded London but have no rights to it. Greeks in the names of their Gods founded Barcelona, Spain and Alexandria in Egypt but have no rights to them.

    You said: I have with my own eyes seen the tattoed numbers on the forearms of the survivors of the death camps. They were not colonisers in my view but indigenous with a right to live in peace.

    What happened to some Jews in Europe, nearly a century ago, has no relevance to the issue. A coloniser is someone who comes into someone else’s country and takes it over. That applies to Israelis. If any other nation did to the indigenous people of the land they have colonised what Israel does to Palestinians if they are not followers of Judaism, there would be outrage.

    Religions have no rights to land, homelands or self-determination. If Jews did then all religions would have the same rights.

    However, NO-ONE in this age, for any reason, valid or imagined, has a right to take someone else’s country and deny the people of that land freedom, justice and human and civil rights. I don’t care if all of their grandparents had tattoos from concentration camps, it gives them and their descendants, no rights to abuse others. Try arguing that it does in any court of law.

  • rosross

    @Adam J,

    I am curious about your theory. How does Judaism make followers a people, beyond religious metaphor or are you saying all religions do the same thing?

    And how does that work for converts or those who drop Judaism and convert to another religion or opt for no religion?

    And, since no Jew would exist if Judaism had not been invented, how is a Jew anything other than a member of a religion, i.e. Judaism since the very existence of being Jewish is religious? No Judaism no Jew, ever.

    You said: Attacking Israel because it’s Jewish is anti-Jewish…

    Yes, it would be but Israel is not Jewish despite its claims. It is condemned for its behaviour as a military colonial oppressor and apartheid State. None of that is Jewish and is in fact a total betrayal of the best of Judaism.

    So, to condemn what Israel is and does is to defend Judaism and Jews which can surely never be deemed anti-semitic.

    You said: Israeli culture is not European and the suggestion that it is appears is laughable.

    I have spent time in Israel and worked with and for Israelis and I would agree with you. Israeli culture is very Arab even though the original colonists and their culture were European. The illegal settlers are different because many of them are American and they live in cultural bubbles.

    I have also worked with and for Jews in Europe, UK, US and know what many of them think of Israelis and their culture. But that is a digression.

    The desire to pretend or prove that followers of Judaism are somehow unique in making a people in a literal sense was an invention of the Zionists as part of their plan to colonise Palestine. Having family and friends who are Jews, around the world, I can assure you, an Indian Jew has nothing in common with a British or American Jew beyond the religion. A Manhattan Reform Jew has nothing in common with a Brooklyn or Belgian Hassidic, beyond the common religion.

    However, let’s run with your theory – NONE of it gives Israeli Jews and their Jewish supporters the right to crush 6 million Palestinians under their military boot, denying them freedom, justice and human and civil rights as they work to steal all of their country. There is no justifications for the actions of Israel and it is a total betrayal of Jews and Judaism to call just condemnation of Israel anti-semitic.

    Calling Israel to an account is a defence of Jews and the best of their religion.

  • Brian Boru

    rosross. You now say, “I did not agree on the UN Mandated borders. ”
    .
    But earlier you said,
    “Israel’s existence is accepted as long as it does one of two things, the first probably now made impossible by Israel’s actions:

    1. return to UN Mandated borders and allow a Palestinian State which is totally independent and which controls its own land, air and sea borders with its capital in East Jerusalem. ”
    .
    You have also made it plain that the Palestinians rejected those borders and attacked the Jews.

  • Adam J

    rosross,
    This is hilarious. The very definition of anti-Zionism is opposition to the existence of a specifically Jewish state. So you have admitted that you are anti-semitic.

    You claim that you oppose Israel because it’s apartheid but the examples I gave, which are incontestable, prove that is wrong.

    You said that you agree that Israeli culture is not European. Yet you originally said it was. What?

    You continue to deny that Jews are a people. The fact of the existence of the Jewish people has been affirmed by Australian courts and Israeli courts, and is supported without dispute by world-class historians. It’s also supported by ancient historians in a continuous line of knowledge. You said that Jews in different countries don’t have anything in common except religion but that has been disproven in our courts.
    I literally gave you 2 quotes from 2 different books about this, neither of which you have bothered either to read or think about. If you had, you would have found the following on PAGE ONE:

    “The idea that Jews are “only” a religious group is a concept that began with
    the French Revolution but did not become influential in Western Europe
    until the mid-nineteenth century. It never fully took hold in the Eastern
    European or Middle Eastern Jewish communities. In Western Europe,
    sympathetic non-Jews and Jews alike, as well as Jews who wanted to assimilate to the majority culture, sought to portray Jews as ordinary
    citizens in every way except in the narrow, personal area of religion. Not
    seeing Jews as a separate people with their own culture, language, and
    identity was a strategy for trying to gain equality and diminish
    antisemitism, not a reflection of their actual history and self-image until that
    time.
    This approach contradicted all previous history, as well as the Jewish
    self-image. In Biblical times and up to the destruction of ancient Israel by
    the Romans more than 1,900 years ago, Jews functioned as a national
    people, arguably the first such in history. Thereafter, for more than
    seventeen centuries Jews constituted a separate people with their own nonstate governing institutions, unique language, special customs, distinct
    ideas, and different culture, not to mention such things as clothing and art.
    Words like “Hebrew” and “Israelite”—used more commonly than the word
    “Jews” well into modern times—reflected that national identity and
    peoplehood, which extended beyond religion alone.”
    – = Israel An Introduction by Barry Rubin

    The fact that Jewish peoplehood is literally irrefutable at this point forces you to go down to total stupidity with your claim that “Israel is not Jewish despite its claims”.
    Seriously?
    The majority (51%) of Jews live in Israel, and 75%+ Israeli citizens are Jewish. 75% of Jews in the world identify as Zionist and 94% support Israel’s existence. Israel is defined in law as a Jewish state. Israel and Israeli Jews are not faking their Jewishness. They are proud of it. There’s no point babbling on about your friends when your friends don’t make one iota of difference to the other 75%-94%.

    If you are actually interested in the questions you asked about the Jewish identity then you would go and read some books.

  • Adam J

    rosross, Do you agree with the existence of Greece and Spain?

  • Adam J

    On second thoughts I will no longer waste my time with the fool that thinks “Israel is not Jewish despite its claims”.

  • Katzenjammer

    Israel should return to the borders defined in the League of Nations Mandate, and Palestinians should have sovereignty over the territory they ruled under their flag before the LoN Mandate. Most who know the well documented genuine legal history that’s based on historical evidence would agree with that.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Before the Mandate, Palestine and TransJordan were part of the Ottoman Empire, so there’s no precedent for Palestinian sovereignty there either.

  • Elizabeth Beare

    Rosross is a fanatic who denies the original history of the Jewish people in what became called Palestine. That sounds pretty anti-Semitic to me. Visit Masada. See Herod’s massive water storage system there and see the ramparts the Romans built to conquer dissident Roman-colonised people who fought for their right even then to exist there. Look at what modern Israeli’s have done with the barren land. Take the long view of it. Christ was a Jew from Nazareth, and upturned the moneychanger tables in Jerusalem. Rosross ignores it all and offers unwelcome Palestinian propaganda here at Quadrant. Has Rosross ever been to Isreal, I wonder? Let me assure anyone that it is an absoute eye-opener to do so if like me you are not Jewish and started with a very limited understanding of Judaism or this conflict. Simplistic leftist revisionism just won’t cut it there, so save up Rosross and go. You will be the richer for it.
    Also, face reality. Israel exists and will fight to the death to do so. New Israeli Army recruits may opt to take the oath of ‘Never Again’ on Masada’s rocky heights today. Also, not much known is that many contented Arabic people live within Israel’s borders, do well in its economy and have political representation within Israel, as do wandering Bedouin tribes who also lay some claim to the lands.
    Importantly, Arabs and Israeli’s have much in common culturally as well as in their histories.
    But I would say that. I am a huge fan the fascinating TV series Fauda, which offers insights from within Israel on the everyday life thrown up by the current stalemate situation, depicting with humanity the fractured lives that are lived on both sides of this conflict over security regarding the West Bank, and Gaza, where Hammas, a terrorist organisation, holds a vicious grip, creating nothing but chaos and hatred there when so much else could be achieved without that.

  • wdr

    Readers are probably unaware that Islam is, by their Constitutions, the established religion in every Middle Eastern state except Lebanon, including the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank. According to the Constitution of the Palestinian Authority, other Monotheistic religions may exist there, but not any others, such as Buddhism and Hinduism. The Left is silent- needless to say- on this form of Apartheid. Also, if the West Bank gains complete independence and control of the West Bank, Hamas is likely to win any election there- as it has in Gaza- a terrorist body. If literally every meter of the pre-1967 West Bank is given up by Israel to an independent Palestine, this would include the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall- in other words, Hamas would control if and when Jews could visit the Western Wall. Don’t hold your breath about this ever happening.

  • Roger Franklin

    COMMENTS on this thread are now closed. Interminable repetitions of the case for and against Israel bore the daylights out of me and, I’m sure, all others but the active participants.

    Those who wish to further immerse themselves in the perpetual roundabout can go here, where the comment thread remains open.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Thank you, Roger.

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