Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Speech to American Jewish Committee by The Hon. Alexander Downer MP, Member for Mayo, on the occasion of the conferral of the Ramer Award for Excellence in Diplomacy

The speech was delivered Thursday May 1 2008 at the 102nd annual dinner of the American Jewish Committee. Mr Downer is a former Australian Foreign Minister in the Howard government. I think the speech is comparable with the excellent speech to the Knesset recently delivered by George Bush.

The speech contrasts greatly with the outpouring of dishonesty and pure venom emanating from the Leftist end of the mainstream Australian media. See here, for instance. And our public broadcaster bewailed the fact that the venom concerned was not published more widely! Yet the reporting in the article concerned is so unbalanced that it is not even good propaganda.

"It is a great honour to be presented with this award by the American Jewish community. Indeed, I feel humbled that you have chosen me to be the recipient of an award which commemorates the extra-ordinary contribution to the American Jewish community by the Ramers.

The Australian and American Jewish communities have a lot in common. In both cases Jews have found in our countries the peace and tolerance which was denied them over the centuries in Europe and the Middle East: but they have not only found freedom and tolerance in Australia and America , they have contributed mightily to our two societies.

You haven't yet elected a Jewish President whereas we have had two Jewish Governors' General, the Governor General being the de facto head of state in Australia . But in both our cases the contribution Jewish people have made to science, academia, literature the arts and business has been magnificent.

An embattled, denigrated and persecuted people has come to our shores and in finding freedom has said 'let's build this place'. It's part of what makes our societies great.

In 1918, Australians and Americans went into battle together for the first time. We've done so many times since. It was at the Battle of Le Hamel, this being the first major American military action on European soil. Those of you with a sense of history may think the Americans fought under the redoubtable General Pershing but in this their first major battle in Europe they fought under the Australian commander, General Sir John Monash. Monash by the way was Jewish - so you won't be surprised to learn we won the battle!

In many ways, Australians and Americans are the most natural of allies. Our countries were settled by peoples fleeing persecution and discrimination and who sought the opportunity to achieve prosperity away from the class based elitism of the old world. We grew to love a life of individual freedom and to place equal value on every person.

We confronted and still confront three great adversaries over the last 100 years. We fought the bloody and heartless totalitarianism of fascism and we won. We fought the intolerance, cruelty and incompetence of communism and we won. And today we fight the fanaticism and ideological insanity of Islamic extremism - and we must win that fight as well.

Islamic extremism has several manifestations. There is Al Qaeda and its Asian variant, Jemaah Islamia. There is the Iranian theocracy. There is the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan .

These people are haters and many of them are killers. They hate our open, free societies that respect men and women equally. They want to destroy democracy and equality of opportunity in Iraq , in Afghanistan , in Indonesia and in Israel . They want to destroy modernity and plunge the world back into the Middle Ages. They want Taliban-style regimes not just in Afghanistan but throughout the world, particularly the Muslim world: regimes where girls are denied schooling, where the most powerful are chosen by a few zealots not the people, where the tools of modernity are disbanded and poverty becomes endemic.

Our great countries stand in their way. This is a tough fight because we are confronting people who have no concern for human life. No act of barbarism is beyond these people. To win we need to be clear eyed. This war is not popular with everyone, it's expensive and it's costing the lives of our young men and women.

But please, I implore you, contemplate the alternative: Victory for Al Qaeda in Sunni Iraq, the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan , Hamas in total control of both Gaza and the West Bank, a Hezbollah-dominated government in Lebanon and what then? The Moslem Brotherhood taking control in Egypt, the Gulf States swept up in the euphoria of a resurgent, extremist Wahabiism. Would newly democratic Indonesia - the world's largest Islamic country succumb to extremism? Would New York again and Sydney become front line cities in the great ideological battle of our time?

And let's think about democratic, freedom-loving Israel . For those of us who live in Australia or America it is hard to conceive of life in a tiny country a fraction the size of our own, living cheek by jowl with people who want to destroy you.

It is easy for Australians, Americans and Europeans in the relative security of our homes to lecture the Israeli government to be more accommodating with its enemies, to criticise Israel for erecting a security barrier, to complain that Prime Minister Olmet won't hug a Hamas leader, to deplore Israeli attacks on rocket bases in Southern Lebanon and Gaza and Israeli attacks on Hamas terrorist leaders in Gaza and the West Bank. It's easy to lecture. But it is harder to understand.

One of the lessons of history is to understand your adversary. The West professes with genuine sincerity to believe in Israel 's right to exist within secure borders. It argues for the two state solution as the only viable option for peace in the Middle East . They are right to do so. It is the only option.

But what some in the West, including a good number of Americans and Australians, don't understand is there are many in the Middle East who don't accept the two-state solution and Israel 's right to exist as a separate State. Hamas and Hezbollah believe in the destruction of the Israeli State . That is bad enough. But behind them lies the power, the finance and the weapons of Iran . When President Ahmadinejad says he wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, he means it. He believes there should be no Jewish State of Israel.

Demands that Israel negotiate with those who wish to destroy it are unreasonable and worse: those demands weaken Israel 's diplomatic strength and help to undermine community support for Israel in Western countries.

Indeed I will go further: there has been a constant stream of criticism of Israel particularly from Europe and elements of the United Nations for each and every one of the defensive measures it takes. Building a security barrier is wrong, destroying terrorist bases is wrong, attacking terrorist leaders and planners is wrong, trying to stop missile attacks on villages in Northern and Southern Israel is wrong. It doesn't leave Israel with too many options.

These criticisms have been particularly vehement in much of the Western media. That has had an effect on public opinion which has become increasingly hostile to Israel. But Israel is a democracy. No Israeli leader can turn his or her back on the struggle against those who wish to destroy Israel . The world needs to respect that.

We also need to send out again and again a simple and clear message to the international community that peace in the Middle East can never come until Israelis are allowed to sleep in peace. That message needs to be transmitted not just in Europe and America. Asia needs to hear and understand that message as well.

Today, as the balance of global power shifts to the Asia Pacific region, your campaigns to ensure people understand the truth of the Middle East conflict must extend to China, Japan, India, Korea and Indonesia. Those countries are going to count for a great deal more in international fora in the future. But at present they are hearing just one side of the argument. When I have spoken about the Middle East in Asia I have felt somewhat lonely!

When I first heard last year of the destruction of a North Korean-built nuclear facility in Syria , I thought its destruction was a triumph. It was a blow for peace. What horrors would have occurred years from now if that project had survived? But the existence of this project, discovered only at a relatively late stage of development, reminds us of the immense dangers Israelis live with day by day.

Ladies and Gentlemen, these are tough times.We have to prevail over Islamic extremism. Liberal democracy has, once more, to triumph. But it won't happen by wishing and hoping: it will only happen through courage and action.

I know what your public are saying, I know there is pain at the costs both human and financial. But the true test of the statesman is to do the right thing by a troubled world, not play to a gallery.

Thank you again for this great honour: whether our political leaders are popular or not, our two great countries will always be the great beacons of hope to billions of people around the world who crave the liberties we are blessed to enjoy. And make no mistake, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Israel in its struggle to secure peace and freedom".


Letter to Editor of LA Times: "Same Sex Marriage is NOT legal in Massachusetts or California!"

Your above the fold headline in today's LA Times, "Massachusetts lives happily with same-sex marriage law," by Elizabeth Mehren is totally inaccurate and misleading, and it is vital that you clarify this error for your readers. The truth is that "same sex marriage" is not legal in Massachusetts which is why only about a month ago legislation was introduced to amend the current Massachusetts marriage statute (chapter 207) to legalize "same sex marriage." (H1710 and S918) which were both defeated. This alone disproves your inaccurate headline!

Under the Massachusetts' Constitution, the oldest functioning constitution in the world authored by John Adams, which served as the model for our Federal Constitution:
"[T]he people of this commonwealth are not controllable by any other laws than those to which their constitutional representative body have given their consent." (PART THE FIRST, Article X.)
And "the people" via their elected representatives never "consented" to "same sex marriage." The current marriage statute was never amended or suspended and to this day doesn't include a provision for "same sex marriages."

Many, including former Governor Romney, have claimed that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, "legalized same sex marriage" in issuing their Goodridge opinion in 2003, and that he was "ordered to enforce the law." Both assertions are totally false. Even the Goodridge Court admitted that their opinion in no way "legalized" same sex "marriage":
"Here, no one argues that striking down the marriage laws is an appropriate form of relief."
In fact, they admitted that under the statute, Chapter 207 of the Massachusetts General Laws, homosexual marriage is illegal:
"We conclude, as did the judge, that M.G.L. c. 207 may not be construed to permit same-sex couples to marry."
The truth is that the Goodridge declaratory opinion should have been declared null and void since the court lacked the subject matter jurisdiction under Article V to even hear the case:
"All causes of marriage.shall be heard and determined by the governor and council, until the legislature shall, by law, make other provision." (PART THE SECOND, Ch. III, Article V.)
Although many "conservative" lawyers and pundits have claimed that the "activist MSJC Court" legalized "same sex marriage," it was the acting governor Mitt Romney, a "conservative" Republican who illegally ordered the Department of Public Health to change the marriage certificates from "husband" and "wife" to "partner A" and "partner B" and ordered Justices of the Peace and Town Clerks to solemnize and perform same sex marriage ceremonies or resign (which one did). Romney did this without an accompanying legal statute and in doing so violated his sworn oath to uphold and enforce the Constitution and the laws and statutes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

That being said, while it was Romney, not the court, who was solely responsible for installing "same sex marriage," the certificates that Romney issued (over 150 of them he personally issued) are not worth the paper they are written on because they lack an accompanying enabling statute that recognizes "same sex marriage" and are therefore, according to the Massachusetts Constitution, null and void. The truth is that according to the highest law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Constitution, "same sex marriage" is not "legal."

Nor is "same sex marriage" "legal" in California. The citizens in California approved a voter initiative to define marriage as between one man and one woman in 2000. The judiciary lacks the requisite constitutional authority to overturn any statute passed by the voters. Only the voters themselves can reverse a statute they themselves voted in. While the court is free to interpret the constitution of California and issue opinions, they are not authorized to "strike down" any specific statutes. It is vital that you acknowledge that "same sex marriage" is not legal in California either or prove that it is. Neither the people nor their elected representatives voted to amend or suspend the current marriage statute that doesn't allow for "same sex marriage." Until they do, it remains illegal.

You have an solemn obligation to acknowledge these facts and run a retraction for your readers. Anything less is journalistic and legal malpractice. Looking forward to seeing if you choose to run this letter.

From: Gregg Jackson, Los Angeles, CA (Author of "Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies" and co-host of "Pundit Review Radio" on WRKO in Boston)


The socialists have criminalized ordinary Britons

Post below recycled from Prof. Brignell. See the original for links

The UK Labour Party is reeling under the four hundred blows inflicted by the local elections. They cannot understand why they are so unpopular. The Englishman has saved us the trouble of finding the links to stories in just one edition of the Telegraph. In each case petty officials, members of Gordon’s army of wage parasites who are dragging down the economy, have burdened ordinary citizens, guilty of no more than inadvertence, with a criminal record. As we remarked about a similar bunch of cases last month, all this has to be taken in the context of an increasingly violent and out-of-control society. Like the smoking ban it is the irrelevance that is so striking.

A number of regular correspondents have taken note of the appointment of “Our Boris” as Mayor of London. While it is no doubt a relief to be rid of Red Ken, it seems a waste of talent to put such a man in such a job. Nevertheless, since he has made his priority the elimination of the casual acceptance of the petty crime that fosters the more serious manifestations, the overall outcome might be beneficial.

In our village there is now a section of yellow line on the main road. It seems to have no purpose other than to provide a form of taxation income for the district council thirty miles away, but it has other effects. Against their will, locals are forced to go to out of town supermarkets that have free parking. The shops are gradually disappearing (the hardware shop went last month) and the bank has just gone part time. Businesses that were sources of employment are also vanishing, yet there is a stealth development plan to double the amount of housing, but not of facilities. Almost anyone you speak to has experienced some form of extortion or coercion by officialdom, but try to get a policeman in the event of a genuine crime.

We find ourselves obliged to live under a system of surveillance more rigorous than at any time or place since the fall of the Stasi, with more CCTV cameras per head of the population than anywhere else in the world. The local elections are largely an irrelevance, as elected representatives have little say (or even knowledge) of what is going on. EU officials talk to Whitehall officials who talk to local officials.

Meanwhile, more and more inoffensive citizens find themselves listed as registered criminals, while the real criminals go about their nefarious business with comparative impunity. It is no joke finding yourself with a criminal record, as the headmaster who forgot to renew his fishing licence discovered. A feature of recent ubiquitous advertising has been the “we know where you live” threats about the BBC tax. The authorities boast of a database with 28 million addresses. Your bending author was once wont resolutely to defend the licence fee, but no more. In the old days it gave relatively cheap access to eminently trustworthy news, quality drama uninterrupted by advertisements, first class comedy and much edifying content.

Now it is a continuum of banal prole circuses (unrelieved even by the occasional football match) punctuated by bouts of lefty-greeny propaganda posing as news, i.e. it is the central pillar of the new establishment. It is naked extortion, like Mafia insurance, pay up or you’re on the list – we know where you live. They cannot even bully with subtlety, but in an authoritarian society why bother? Three billion pounds of income per annum, greater than the GDP of, say, Nicaragua, yet they claim they cannot manage. Why? Officials! Like its host country, of which it is a microcosm, the BBC is sinking under the weight of overweening administration.

If the wealth creating part of any enterprise shrinks continuously, while the wealth dissipating part grows relentlessly, there can be only one eventual outcome. It is not, as the ghastly cliché says, rocket science. Meanwhile, the powers that be withdraw into a fantasy world of imagined crimes attracting draconian fines to fund their excesses, while the rank undergrowth of society flourishes. The habitually law abiding portion of the population finds itself increasingly criminalised, while the habitual criminals go about their business untrammelled.

Foolish talk of Israel disappearing

By Barry Rubin

Exaggerations of Israel's demise are greatly exaggerated, to paraphrase Mark Twain. The question is: why is this suddenly happening now and--even more important--what is the impact of this fad going to be? The answer to the second question is very surprising so keep reading.

The suddenness of this trend is illustrated by a telling anecdote. Two years ago, a young senator named Barrack Obama went on a trip to Israel with a group. In his reactions at the time, Obama said that Israel was so strong that it could easily make big concessions for peace. Now, in his recent interview with Atlantic magazine doomsayer-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama said the exact opposite: Israel may disappear unless it makes big concessions for peace.

First, one common thread is this: it is the latest trick for pretending that Israel should take big risks and make large concessions without getting much in return. Remember, there was the Oslo peace process which included the return of Fatah to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, its arming and supply with hundreds of millions of dollars plus Israel's offer to return the Golan Heights to Syria; the Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon, the pullout from the Gaza Strip.

Given this experience, someone might conclude that concessions didn't work and that the Palestinians and Syria were not ready for peace. But such a conclusion is not permissible for those wedded to certain notions. Instead, they say: ignore all that because no matter how high the price you must make concessions and take risks in order to survive. Is this obvious nonsense? Yes. But obvious nonsense backed by the New York Times and McClain's in Canada, etc., drowns out the point that it is obvious nonsense.

Second, of course, this expresses wishful thinking. A lot of people want Israel to disappear and thus feel good in asserting it is going to happen. The line in "pro-Palestinian" circles in the West seems to be that it doesn't matter that they lose all the confrontations, that their state-building effort has collapsed, and that the movement is more split than at any time in the last forty years. More important, they say, they now have control of the narrative. That and a few bucks will get you a cup of coffee.

There are also some ideological reasons on the left, or what passes for it nowadays, that have invested heavily in the idea of Israel disappearing. One is that nationalism is obsolete. This is clearly absurd. It might be disappearing in Western Europe--I mean European nationalism, not that of the new immigrants--yet it is not a generalized global phenomenon. Quite the opposite.[1] But the people who think this way want nationalism to die in their own countries very badly and detest those who have pride in their heritage.

Unfortunately, a disproportionate number of such intellectuals are Jews. To have Israel as daily disproof of their thesis is particularly humiliating to them. Who cares about the lives of millions of Israelis, for them it is like a teetotaler with an alcoholic cousin, or a racist with an African-American one.

There is also something here involving their own definition of Jewishness. Many have nothing to do with their background except when using it to denounce Israel (or exalt past Jewish suffering or great revolutionary "heroes" to magnify themselves). They have never understood Zionism and, despite their self-proclaimed humanitarian credentials, could not care less about the fate of Israelis.

Finally, there is the most interesting and new aspect of the Israel-is-dead movement, what it tells about the politics of the new-new left and the many people its ideas have influenced. It is also closely related to the let's-kill-Western-civilization movement, too. Here are its mantras:

* If anyone is your enemy you have failed and cannot win. This is because all conflicts are bad and nothing can be gained from war.

* If people are fighting against you, especially if they are "Third World," non-Christian, and have an ideology, you cannot win. This is because nothing is worth fighting or dying for and no one would be carrying a gun if they could be drinking a latt‚ instead. These people are the living embodiment of the negative radical Islamist stereotype of the West, effete cowards. It is, however, worth noting that the Nazis and Communists thought the same thing and were shown to be dead wrong.

* As a result of this thinking, though, the crowning argument is: If the other side won't give in, you must surrender.

Maybe that's another reason why Israel irritates them so much, just as ideologues in past centuries hated the Jews: it defies their ideological system.

Briefly, let me suggest that on the list of countries and societies unlikely to survive, Israel is at the bottom, not top, of the ratings. Take any Middle Eastern state and it is riven with problems: inept governments, stalled development, massive population growth, bitter rivalries. You want to put your money on the future of Iran, Iraq, Syria, or Egypt?

Israel is the state and society in the region most likely to survive over the next century.

And what about Europe? Aside from the EU's project of dissolving away those countries, plummeting birth rates, loss of self-confidence, and rapidly rising immigrant populations do not make their futures look bright. Sweden, Norway, and Holland are all well on the way to the cliff edge. One after another, European countries will be passing Israel in their proportion of Muslim population. If we speak of urban areas, those with the greatest cultural and political influence, they are already doing so.

Even if you attribute nothing but good and moderate intentions to the immigrants, if they don't integrate into the existing society then they are going to transform it to the extent that countries like Britain, France, or the Netherlands as we have always known them could be said to have disappeared.

Remember also that Israel's enemies are overwhelmingly outside its borders; the opposite is true for the Middle Eastern and European states. And it's easier for a coherent society to survive an external threat than a disintegrating one to weather an internal challenge. The bookies better set Israel's odds as better than the rest or they are going to lose a lot of money.

You might remember that I promised at the start of this article to surprise you with the conclusion. So here it is?

What effect does all this talk about Israel disappearing have? Simple. It assures radical Islamists and radical Arab nationalists that they will win. Thus it encourages Arabs, and especially Palestinians, to keep fighting rather than to make peace and act moderately or constructively.

It promotes terrorism, recruitment to terrorist groups, violence against moderates, and dictatorships. After all, if victory is in sight why stop fighting? If triumph is possible than it follows logically that anyone who wants to make peace is a traitor who should be killed.

While the authors of the Israel-is-dead movement enjoy career benefits and feel good, thousands of Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinians will die as a result of what they are writing. Israelis will die, too, but not enough to make their predictions come true. Any possibility for peace will be set back for many years; any hope of a better life for the Arabs themselves will be postponed until after the predicted apocalypse.


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