Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dead Sea Skincare controversy in Palmerston North

I'm always interested in anything involving Israel or Judaism in Palamerston North.  Maybe because it's so backward, and seemingly isolated from cultures like that (in my opinion).  Last summer, when I was there (for 5 weeks!), I couldn't find any Israeli products at all.

It seems now that a Dead Sea skincare stall has opened in the Plaza, and been pushing products in the same way as shopping centers in rest of the world.

Now the dead sea sales people are pushy, but the reports that people are giving seem a bit over the top - being grabbed, and forced upon.  This seems more that what I experienced in Melbourne, Sydney or even LA.  It could also be that NZers are just not used to pushy sales people.  Typically New Zealanders talk with their feet, and do not like having to say no.

To their credit, the store did refund the products, albeit that the father had to get angry first, which is very disappointing.

There have been some complaints though - like this post on the Plaza's facebook wall, with over 500+ likes and 140+ comments:

Thankfully, there are none of the usual "BDS" comments, and very few racist type comments.

These complaints are nothing compared to what I experienced in Israel, either at a Tel Aviv Shopping Mall or at the Arab Souk (market) in the old city of Jerulsalem.  In the Shopping mall, I walked out a CD store, where I was getting (obviously fake) CDs pushed on me.  The salesman ran out, grabbed my arm and physically was pulling me back to the store.  I was pretty firm, but he only stopped when another shopkeeper saw and came up and broke me away (and started yelling at the 'puller').  This kind of thing is common (I hear), but it was nice that someone knew that it was giving them a bad name.

The souk was worse though - I was looking at some T-shirts, when a kid came up and said I should check out his shop.  I followed him for what I thought would be a little way, but a few turns and I was removed from my friends and a bit lost (it's a bit of a rabbit warren).  The shopkeeper (apparently the kids father) told me a sob story about how they hadn't eaten for 3 days and urged me to buy something.  When I asked the price of the simplest thing he told me hundreds of shekels for a belt.  I tried to leave and was effectively threatened (in a subtle way), and that he knew 'people'.  I was pretty scared, and to cut the story short, I ended up with a very expensive belt, but got out.  The man even rummaged through my bag for "presents for the boy" - there is some Arab kid in Jerusalem with a Mutton Birds tape nicked from my bag!

When I'm next in Palmerston North, I'm very keen to search out the Dead Se scrolls store.  I won't buy anything (for a start, you can get it much cheaper online - Try StrawberryNet for starters).  If the salespeople are Israeli, I might accost them back and try to get them to come to a Shabbat dinner!  In general, I don't push religion on anyone, but for them I might make an exception :-)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

JWire Joins BDS Protest

A good article in JWire by Michelle Coleman, who joined a BDS Protest "Undercover".

Quite short and an amusing read.  It is quite funny to hear about a South African being lectured about "Apartheid Israel" by people who don't even know what Apartheid means!

In South Africa, Blacks and Whites had separate buses and seats.  In Israel you'll end up mixing with Muslims, Jews, Christians, Africans and Thai.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Counter Protest to Racism by Socialist Aotearoa

A counter-protest to Friday's cemetary desecration was held the following day.

The Article in Stuff was labelled "Activists against Intolerance"

It was run by Irishman, Joe Carolan of Socialist Aotearoa and attracted about 30 people.

From Socialist Aoteroa's own website:

Socialist Aotearoa makes a clear distinction between the political acts, policies and opinions of the secular state of Israel, which isdisputed, and the security of the persons  of  Jewish people, the sanctity of which may not be disputed or endangered.
Of course, if you scroll down on this same page, you will see these links (among others):

Two links which promote violence, and do not advocate a peaceful settlement.
So the sanctity and security of Jews is fine, provided they don't live in Israel, or presumably support Israel.

This is the same Joe Carolan, who has no problem protesting outside Jewish houses of worship:

This is an interview with Joe Carolan, after protests in 2010 (which attracted small people), A protest which included burning flags and chants "Hamas, Hezbollah".

According to Joe, this isn't racism.  Is burning a representation of Jewish people contradictory to "security of the persons  of  Jewish people, the sanctity of which may not be disputed or endangered"?

Joe was one of the organisers of the tiny protest against Shahar Peer competing at the Auckland Tennis Open against 

Here is a photo from one of Joe's protests, stating that Zionists are Nazis:

Joe Carolan and SA support the BDS movement.  No comment from Joe on the racists inside those ranks?

No comment from Joe on Hamas, who vow to kill the Jews?  No comment from Joe when BDS activists quote "The invention of the Jewish People"?  No comment on the Iranian Holocaust denial conferences.

The protest was conveniently held on a Saturday, where Jewish involvement would be small.  It would have been funny to see what would have happened if someone had turned up wearing an Israeli flag - would Joe have consoled them?  Or burnt the flag?

One of the Graffiti messages on a grave said "F*** Israel".  I was half expecting Joe to come out and say "We oppose all the swastikas, but we support this message".

With friends like Joe, who needs enemies! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Jewish Graves desecrated in Auckland

Jewish graves in an Auckland cemetary have been desecrated.  They were daubed in Graffiti - mainly swatikas and "88" (a Far right symbol that represents "Heil Hitler").  One had "F*** Israel" written.

This is not the first time.  In 2003, after Helen Clark's jumped up "Spy Scandal" there were four separate attacks in 6 Months.

This is most likely the work of the far right morons known as "Right Wing Resistance" or some such that were having conferences this labour weekend.  They are so small in numbers and stupid that I seldom blog about them.  Still dangerous, apparently.  Unlikely to win too much respect with cowardly acts like this.

Racists inside BDS ranks - Why are they only being noticed now?

There's been some talk for a while about BDS campaigner Greta Berlin, and some of the strange accusations she has made against Zionists.

Here's a long article by Bekah Wolf, herself an anti-zionist activist who is disgusted with the accusations of Berlin.

Some of the more wacky things include that "Zionists engineered the Holocaust", and "Nazi is an appropriation of National and Zionist"

As an anti-Zionist Jew who has been active in Palestine for 10 years, Greta Berlin's statements and the content of “Our Land” not only offend me, but they have damaged my ability to combat Zionist rhetoric by claiming that I cannot be both religiously Jewish and anti-Zionist.
I probably disagree with Wolf on nearly everything, but what she says here is very relevant to her own argument.  My question to Wolf on this matter is why have you had your eyes closed to the many other Greta Berlins.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Interesting post on the NT election

Forwarded by John Safran - Here's an interesting post on the NT election

In the recent Northern Territory election, Barbara Shaw was the Greens candidate for Braitling, one of the electorates in Alice Springs. She is Aboriginal and strongly opposed to the Northern Territory intervention.
To southerners, this may well seem a natural arrangement. Shaw won friends on the east coast by helping to contest Jenny Macklin’s housing intervention in the Federal Court, and thus stopped the building of houses in the Alice Springs town camps for several years on the grounds that residents had not been properly consulted. Shaw’s activism also saw her play a role in the Australia Day melee in Canberra earlier this year.
Her efforts did not go unnoticed in Alice Springs. On 25 August, Shaw received just 9% of the vote. The swing against the Greens in Braitling was almost 6%. Territory-wide, the Country Liberal Party (CLP) gained 56% of the two-party preferred vote, enough to win 16 of the legislative assembly’s 25 seats.
Few commentators picked the conservatives’ victory. It had been assumed the Aboriginal vote was rusted on to the ALP. Yet it was Aboriginal voters in the bush who threw out the government that had ignored them, delivering victory to the Country Liberal Party. This extraordinary outcome  challenges mainstream perceptions of the marginal power of the Aboriginal vote. The voter turnout across the Territory was an unusually high 77%; three in ten Territorians are Aboriginal. Clearly, they wanted to make their votes count.

State and Territory governments have long used untied Commonwealth grants for ‘Indigenous Affairs’ as a general purpose slush fund for everyone except the poorest of the poor, the remote Aboriginal populations. In the same way, the vast sums committed to the intervention have been soaked up by the bureaucrats and consultants. The caravans of high-end, late-model white Toyotas returning from the bush to Darwin and Alice Springs on Friday afternoon, and the young, shiny, well-fed members of the helping class alighting to enter their homes and hotels, are evident for all to see. The gap between this high-income group and the desperately poor Aboriginal people they purportedly serve is played out in all social relations in the Northern Territory. The whites-only revelry along Mitchell Street in Darwin on any Friday night is a jarring sight. Evident too are the regular small plane charters unloading teams of bureaucrats in the communities for endless consultations: it may be just talk, but it sure isn’t cheap.
Aboriginal people voted to end this conspicuous waste. The perception that the NT Labor government was indifferent to the remote areas was exacerbated by the effective dismantling of bilingual education in schools. Aboriginal women also voted for continued income quarantining. The re-election of Alison Anderson and the support for Bess Price suggests that Aboriginal women in remote communities, long ignored by anti-interventionist campaigners and their media cat’s paws, came out in force at the polls. It was confirmation that the tri-state NPY Women’s Council’s successful push for voluntary income quarantining in the adjoining lands in South Australia and Western Australia had come from the bottom up, rather than being imposed from above, as the southern media had misreported.

I always wondered how long it would be until the whitefellas in the Greens and Left got found out as being ineffective.

Is Tom Scott starting to wake up?

Tom Scott's latest cartoon on the Israel - Iran issue is here:

Instead of his usual of simply attacking Israel or being racist, this time he attacks both Ahmadinejad and Netanyahu.

And he is acknowledging that Ahmadinejad is a dangerous and violent nutcase.

But here's the question - given the vile attack on Israel and threat to his existence, what does he suggest Israel say at the UN?  Why should Netanyahu have his "medication doubled"?