Malcolm Turnbull to roll out red carpet for Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu … “Bibi” haunted by scandal at home and war crimes abroad … Michelle Guthrie’s plan to gut the ABC … “Murdochisation” of the ABC is now underway … Anti-war coalition only way to stop Trumpism … Great Crashing Bores and Festival of Dangerous Ideas continued …
Israel’s Trump: Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, under investigation for corruption and shunned by countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America, will be the guest of the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on a state visit to Australia between February 21 and 25.
Netanyahu’s welcome by the Coalition parties and hard right Christian fundamentalists like Fred Nile and Pauline Hanson will appal many Australians who increasingly regard Israel’s far right-wing coalition government as the enemy of Middle East peace.
Netanyahu’s Hollywood-style publicity machine will make the most of his first visit to Australia to convince Israelis that the pariah state still has some friends left in the world.
The Likud leader, whose shocking views on race and sexism are rivalled by Donald Trump, won’t be travelling across the Tasman to visit New Zealanders. When the UN Security Council voted in support of Palestinian right to a homeland and condemned the ongoing establishment of Zionist settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Netanyahu condemned the NZ government, which co-sponsored the UN motion, and described its action as “an act of war”.
The Turnbull government didn’t have a vote but criticised the resolution which was passed 14-0. The UK, China, Russia and France voted for the resolution while the US (still under President Obama) abstained.
During his stay in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney, Netanyahu will try to enlist Turnbull government support for declaring Jerusalem as the capital of the Zionist state.
Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop are being heavied by Netanyahu’s gangster regime to follow President Donald Trump’s lead and back the transfer from Tel Aviv.
Trump has packed his administration with uber-Zionists: his new ambassador to Israel is bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman who has described reform-minded American Jews as “worse than concentration camp prisoner-guards”. The hardline envoy who opposes Palestinian rights has been described by Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organisation of America, as potentially “the greatest US ambassador to Israel ever”.
How things have changed. In the late 1940s Israel’s founders declared that Jerusalem would be maintained as a city of religious freedom for Moslems, Christians and Jews – as it had been since the birth of Judaism, Christendom and Islam.
Now Likud and its extreme right-wing supporters want to steal the holy city and Zionise it. Other religions will be given secondary status in a form of religious apartheid.
Oz Zionists will be out in force
While Turnbull is rolling out the red carpet for Netanyahu, a conga-line of pro-Zionist hacks from News Ltd, Fairfax and the ABC are preparing to write suck-up pieces on the Israeli leader’s visit.
Seems like an appropriate time to recall the reception the Israeli leader was given in Holland last September.
Former left-wing MP Dries Van Agt spoke to vast pro-Palestine rallies labelling Netanyahu as a “war criminal” whom the Dutch authorities should send “straight away to the International Criminal Court” in The Hague. Facing war crimes charges abroad and corruption allegations at home, Netanyahu is the perfect specimen to represent the psychotic Israeli state.
And there is rich irony in the fact that one of Netanyahu’s closest buddies and benefactors turns out to be James Packer, the casino-owning scion of Cranbook, the exclusive private school in Sydney’s Bellevue Hill.
The billionaire imbecile and former scientologist has bought a home in Israel in preparation for building a casino there. Can you imagine his father Kerry or his grandfather Sir Frank Packer taking such a gamble?
Tony Abbott, the demented former PM, is planning to use Netanyahu’s visit to promote his view that Australia should join the Trump administration in moving its embassy to Jerusalem. Abbott will be afforded maximum space in Murdoch’s Australian to promote this dangerous idiocy.
Ali Kazak, a former PLO envoy to Australia and a highly respected Middle East commentator, said: “A decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognition of it as Israel’s capital will never be accepted by the Arab and Muslim people, will fuel the flames of their anger and will have catastrophic repercussions for the US, Israel and all complicit regimes.”
Is Turnbull ready to tag along behind Netanyahu and his apartheid regime? We’ll soon know.
Michelle Guthrie gutting the ABC
This week marked the end of the ABC’s short wave Radio Australia service, a founding duty of the public broadcaster’s existence.
ABC chiefs have pulled the plug on the radio service they have supplied for decades to communities in the Outback, Arnhem Land, the Tiwi Islands, Thursday Island, the South Pacific islands, the Indonesian archipelago, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Bougainville, Nauru, Fiji and Vanuatu.
The decision to axe the service was taken by ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie in cahoots with Judith Whelan, her “head of spoken content”, aka radio, and chairman Jim Spigelman.
A new digitised system is due to replace the outgoing one, but when? Why kill the existing service when its replacement is not yet ready to go?
Rupert Murdoch, who browbeat the ABC into relinquishing its contract to manage the corporation’s Australia TV network in 2014, must be rubbing his hands with glee. Now he can concentrate on snatching the Radio Australia service as well and incorporating it into his growing digital media empire.
The ABC’s disreputable action did not raise a single protest from Bill Shorten’s so-called “Opposition”. Adelaide’s independent Senator Nick Xenophon takes the honour of being federal parliament’s most severe critic of the move.
When parliament resumes this month, Xenophon will table a Bill demanding a reversal of the ABC decision which the broadcaster’s chiefs say will “save” … wait for it … $1.9 million.
Talk about false economies. If Guthrie cut the number of her personal advisers and consultants by two or three (e.g. firing former Murdoch henchman Jim Rudder), she could save that much tomorrow!
Xenophon said: “The fact is [the shutdown] will affect thousands of Australians who are in remote areas. This is an essential service not just for the bush in Australia but for the region. I hope I can get bipartisan support to reverse this decision.”
Not if he’s relying on the Labor Party or the Nationals …
Truth about Murdochisation
At a recent senior staff meeting at ABC headquarters in Sydney Guthrie lambasted her critics inside the corporation and outside it.
I was particularly intrigued by her robust denial that she was guilty of the “Murdochisation” of the ABC. “What is Murdochisation anyway?” she asked.
Good question. Here’s a rough definition.
It is the steady, unrelenting commercialisation and dumbing down of content. It is the outsourcing of jobs to private contractors. It is the dismantling of experience and knowledge through multiple sets of redundancies. It is the casualisation of staff and putting young people on short-term contracts thus depriving them of a secure livelihood, superannuation, health and holiday cover. It is sucking up to big business and politicians and imposing an unspoken form of censorship by taking leading broadcasters off the air and promoting crawlers.
It is intimidating staff and taking away their self-esteem and self-confidence. It is denying originality and imagination and introducing a culture of obedience to authority.
That, Ms Guthrie, is “Murdochisation”. You worked with him for almost 20 years as his senior legal counsellor in Sydney, London, Singapore and Hong Kong.
You belonged to his inner circle when he waged war on the BBC and reduced the world’s leading public broadcaster to the impoverished shambles than it has become.
Maybe you have become so used to “Murdochisation” that you no longer recognise it.
Freezing in Davos
This year’s Davos conference In Switzerland, grandly billing itself as the World Economic Summit, was a miserable and pessimistic affair.
None of the millionaire invitees came within a bull’s roar of providing an answer to falling rates of profit and productivity, the threat of trade wars, the decline in global economic growth and the deep uncertainty in equity, commodity and currency markets.
My post-Davos conclusions? World leadership is shifting from the US to China and simmering trade rivalries will soon erupt in all-out trade wars. They are usually a prelude to shooting ones.
What Australians want to hear loud and clear is a declaration that Australia will not participate in America’s wars in Asia, Europe or the Middle East.
So let’s hear it – No to America’s wars!
Great Crashing Bores*
I’ve always been one to give credit where credit’s due and I have to admit I was very proud of our prime minister when he called out Donald Trump. How good was that? In their first phone call, Trump tried to blast Turnbull over the deal to take refugees from Nauru, but our boy stood up to him. Good stuff. It’s about time we told Trump to piss off. He can’t push us around. Mind you, Trump is the elected president of our major partner. He should be treated with respect. Turnbull has to remember that we need America more than the Americans need us. Turnbull is behaving like a rich bully. Let’s not forget he bought the prime ministership by giving $1.75 million to the Liberal Party. He should just shut the fuck up, apologise to Trump and get rid of the refugees and ship them Stateside.
Festival of Dangerous Ideas*
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*GCBs and FoDIs are satirical fiction