Her bio reads: Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban is Minister of Expatriates in Syria, and writer and professor at Damascus University since 1985. Before assuming her current ministerial position, Dr. Shaaban was Director of the Press Office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Syria. She received her Ph.D. in English Literature from Warwick University in England in 1982, and joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an advisor in 1988. Since then, she has represented Syria as a spokeswomen on an international level. In 2005 Dr. Shaaban was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and in the same year, was presented with "the Most Distinguished Woman in a Governmental Position" award by the Arab League. Dr. Shaaban has published four books, and contributed to numerous others.
No doubt the Left will applaud her for her 'courage' and 'speaking the truth'. Why anyone thinks that a government hack from a socialist dictatorship speaks with anything other than a well-trained, well-used forked tongue is beyond my ken.
Only few weeks after the apology of Kevin Rudd, the newly elected Prime Minister of Australia, to the Aborigines, the indigenous inhabitants of Australia, he was party to a motion in Parliament describing Israel as a "robust democracy" and a "custodian of freedom" in a region abounding in autocracies and theocracies!And both Rudd and Nelson are absolutely correct. Israel is the Middle East's only democracy. Arab Israeli citizens have the highest standard of living in the entire Arab world and unlike in the rest of the Arab world - they can vote - with the result that a number of Arabs sit in Israel's parliament, the Knesset. Israel's deputy-President is an Arab Israeli.
Opposition Liberal party leader Brendan Nelson said that in a region "characterized more by theocracies and autocracies, Israel is the custodian of the most powerful of human emotions – that is hopeful belief in the freedom of man, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly ".
Here's a pop quiz for you:
In which Middle Eastern country can a Muslim parliamentarian loudly denounce his country, call for its military defeat and then leave parliament without needing bodyguards, go home and not fear being arrested?
B) Saudi Arabia;
C) Libya; or
Tick, tock, tick, tock...thinking time is really not required, is it?
All this was expressed in the aftermath of Israeli Killing of over 130 Palestinians in Gaza, 39 of them were children, and 12 women and the rest were young men in their twenties aspiring to live in peace and dignity on their own land. The question that came to mind upon reading the disappointing news of the motion in the Australian Parliament was whether Kevin Rudd and his colleagues want to wait for 200 years to apologize from the Palestinians as they apologized from the aborigines, but only when it becomes too late and almost of no value to a people and culture who have been almost completely destroyed. If the world expressed its absolute shame of the way the “stolen generations” were treated in Australia, it should be more ashamed of the “slaughtered generation” in Palestine that is being collectively punished and ethnically cleansed in the most abhorrent racist policies adopted by any state in the world, including the past apartheid regime in South African.Leaving aside the fact that there is no such thing as the Stolen Generations, and never has been, what culture is being destroyed in Palestine? It's a non-place; there's never been any such country. It's never had a language, or money, or art, or philosophy, or trade, or government...or culture. Apologising to the so-called 'slaughtered generation' carries as much validity and honesty as the Stolen Generation apology did.
To Kevin Rudd and Brendan Nelson, I would like to say that Gaza is not on the moon; it is only a few miles from Jerusalem and you may easily visit or send a camera and a journalist to take you pictures of what is happening to the Palestinians at the hands of the Israelis, and to see for yourselves, what kind of “custodian of freedom” you are supporting! A million and a half Palestinians are imprisoned in a big jail called Gaza, after they have been transferred from Southern Palestine. The small West bank has over 400 check points and a tall apartheid wall that prevents children from going to schools and farmers from reaching their lands, and in the case of Qalqilia, prevents the sun from reaching windows of houses. Palestinians in Gaza are killed by Israeli missiles, tanks and fire, whether they are men tending their cattle or women making their bread at home, or children playing football, or simply attending schools.In fact, you cannot send journalists with cameras in to see for yourself what is happening. As has been well documented, if Hamas or Fatah don't like what you're reporting then you get a warning to leave and never return with the threat to life and limb being obvious. It's certainly accurate to say that the population of Gaza has been imprisoned but who actually imprisoned them? Israel? No. The rest of the Arab world imprisons them and uses them for Palestine-As-Cause propaganda. Why does Egypt have a security wall along the border between the Sinai Desert and the Gaza Strip? To keep Egyptians from getting in? Hardly. It's to keep Palestinians from getting out. Why do so many Arab nations forbid migrants from Palestine and not accept Palestinian refugees - including Dr Shaaban's own country of Syria? And to claim that cattle herders and school children and women making bread are the targets of Israel - while at the same time saying nothing about Hamas' own Katuysha rocket attacks that are deliberately aimed at civilian targets - rivals anything Goebbels could come up with.
It is these immoral, illegal, and inhuman crimes perpetrated by Israeli forces against the Palestinians on a daily basis that prompted Iian Pappe, the Israeli historian from Haifa university (who was later virtually expelled, and he is now a professor at Exeter University, England) to say “I don’t think there is one moral person in the world that supports what Israel stands for” (Yedioth Ahranot, March 16, 2008).Ilan Pappé is an Israeli Communist. He was expelled for supporting Hamas and promoting boycotts against Israeli universities. As the old saying goes, you can judge a man by who his enemies are. It works with his friends, as well. From his Wikipedia article:
Pappé's works have been praised by many other historians, academics and writers, such as Walid Khalidi, Richard Falk, Ella Shohat and John Pilger. According to John Pilger: "Ilan Pappe is Israel’s bravest, most principled, most incisive historian."When John Pilger is on your side you know you're waaaaaaay left.
Critiquing Pappé's 2004 book, A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples, historian Benny Morris wrote in the New Republic: 'Unfortunately much of what Pappe tries to sell his readers is complete fabrication. [...] This book is awash with errors of a quantity and a quality that are not found in serious historiography. [...] The multiplicity of mistakes on each page is a product of both Pappe's historical methodology and his political proclivities[.] [...] For those enamored with subjectivity and in thrall to historical relativism, a fact is not a fact and accuracy is unattainable'.
Benny Morris is an Israeli historian who supports the Palestinian cause and he's basically calling Pappe a liar.
Back to the article:
I am sure whether the Australian Parliament that lauded Israel and congratulated it on its 60th anniversary is aware that the president of the Palestinian Parliament Aziz al Douek and 15 of his colleagues who were democratically elected in elections that was described by ex-president Carter as the most democratic and transparent, that they are imprisoned and tortured in Israeli jails for the last two years, and no Parliament in the world has put forward a motion for their release or threatened to boycott their jailors (the Israelis) if they do not release them.She has her numbers wrong. Of the 132 elected officials, fully 26 of them are 'detained in Israel' on charges of being associated with Hama' or Fatah's terrorist wings. Most are from Hamas - a proscribed terrorist organisation in most Western nations.
This moral support that is given to the racist, criminal policies of Israel against the Arabs is, partly, morally responsible for the crimes perpetrated. The balance of military power is by far in Israel’s favor, and the only hope for the Palestinians is to have the moral and political support of peoples of the world who gave us all hope when they kept mounting pressure on the ex-apartheid regime of South Africa till they brought it to an end.So, she prefers to provide moral support to the terrorists and murders who have perpetuated the conflict long past a time when it was clear Israel would do what it had to in order to achieve peace, which goes all the way back to the early 80s. Furthermore, to describe Israel as an apartheid regime when, as I mentioned, people with Arab backgrounds do so well there is absurd.
The very same effort is badly needed today to free the Palestinian people from the last occupation in the twenty first century. Let’s again listen to the best expert on Palestinian-Israeli affairs, Professor Iian Pappe: “I believe that things would change only if Israel receives a strong message that as long as occupation continues it would not be a legitimate member of the international community, and that until then its academics, doctors and authors would not be welcome. A similar boycott was imposed on South Africa. It took 21 years, but it eventually led to the end of Apartheid.” (Yedioth Ahranot, March 16, 2008). Much sooner than 21 years, the Australian people will be ashamed of the motion passed by the Australian parliament.Australians will certainly be ashamed of the Apology to the Stolen Generations when it causes the destruction of that culture in years to come. We will never be ashamed of standing up for free and democratic nations, especially when they come under such sustained attack as Israel has from dictatorships that back terrorist organisations, assassinate Lebanon's political leaders willy-nilly and have appalling human rights records of their own such as Syria.