Fairfax Media – spiralling into the blame game

November 8, 2015 by David Werdiger
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I’m not sure what the editors at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald were thinking. Perhaps in response to the criticism of their coverage of the recent violence in Israel, they decided to publish an opinion piece written by an Israeli, and in their wisdom, they chose writer Assaf Gavron.

His article in Saturday’s edition: “Israel and the Palestinians: spiralling into savagery” is a diatribe that takes claims of victimhood and absolution of responsibility to new levels, and invokes false cause-and-effect tropes.

David Werdiger

David Werdiger

While at least he characterises the current violence as “wave of Palestinian attacks” rather than using the inane “cycle of violence”, his simplistic explanation is “a desperate and humiliated answer to the election of a hostile Israeli government that emboldens extremist settlers to attack Palestinians”. This is a nothing less than a geopolitical incarnation of the “twinkie defence” – that excuses the perpetrators of violence of responsibility for their actions. It’s not their fault, he claims, as they are driven to this behaviour by their desperation and humiliation at the hands of the evil Israeli government.

His disdain for the democratically elected government of Israel doesn’t stop there. It’s not just the Palestinians who are victims, it’s also the Left. They are the few dissenters who dare to contradict the party line. He claims they are threatened and vilified for not “supporting our troops”. It gets worse from here, as he leaps toward an awful equivalence: there has been anti-leftist violence which “goes along” with the attacks against Palestinians. And yet the left has not been driven to violent behaviour in response to their oppression.

As he points to the calls for an aggressive response to the street stabbings from ministers and officials, he refuses to apply a common standard to Jews and Palestinians. He excuses the Palestinians for their wave of attacks, but not Israel for their response. In any other country, taking down a rampaging attacker with deadly force would be fully acceptable. Indeed, following the recent attack at Parramatta Police Station, Council board member Amarinder Bajwa wanted to honour the bravery of the special constable who shot dead attacker Farhad Jabar. In Israel, the authorities are condemned for shooting attackers, and here in Australia they are honoured for bravery!

The ‘root cause’, according to Gavron, is in fact the occupation, which he claims is leading Israel to savagery. Indeed, the online slug for the article, “West Bank Occupation paid for in Vitriol and Bloodlust”, conveys the same sentiment, that the occupation is turning Israel into a monster state. Not all of Israel, of course. Just the right wing who insist on protecting its citizens from terror. Those who share his thinking remain morally superior and are the only ones who can see what is happening to the rest of the country.

Gavron continues to play the blame game, hunting for someone to blame until he reaches a satisfactory target. It’s not the Palestinians, perennial victims, who have been fully absolved of responsibility for their actions. It’s not the surrounding Arab states who have regularly acted to perpetuate the status of Palestinians refugees by refusing to accept them. It’s certainly not Jordan, which is the de facto Palestinian state anticipated by the original partition plan, but whose Hashemite leaders weaselled their way out of that obligation. It’s not the UNRWA, whose sole purpose appears to be to bring up the next generation of refugees. It’s not even the political left, who, in his view, have also become victims of his real target, the right.

I was in Israel during the recent election in March, and saw firsthand how shell-shocked the left was by the result. They woke up in the morning with the sad realization that despite their loud voice, they were a political minority. Surely they could respect the wishes of the majority, rather than add them to the ever-growing list of who to blame?

This delusionary thinking, that everything would be fixed if only Israel ended the occupation, has been going on for decades. It has been proved empirically false time and again as Israel has indeed withdrawn from areas only to see them transformed into hotbeds of terrorism. And despite investment of billions of dollars into the Oslo plan and the Palestinian Authority, it too has failed to create anything that could be a future Palestinian state. It’s time the left stopped playing the blame game and instead applied standards of responsibility for actions to all parties.

Read Assaf Gavron’s article here…

David Werdiger is a technology entrepreneur, writer, and public speaker. He’s involved in several not-for-profits at director and committee level, and has an interest in Jewish community, education, and continuity. You can connect with David on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.



9 Responses to “Fairfax Media – spiralling into the blame game”

    Eloquently put, David. Geoff

  2. Ian katz says:

    Gavrons article is an example of just another ignorant self hating Jew with achip on his shoulder
    Aided and abetted by the anti Semites of fairfax

  3. BatSheva Dor says:

    Read what Bassam Tawil, a prestigious Middle East Arab researcher at Gatestone Institute, has to say about the recent violence outbreak:
    “Welcome to the world of the Palestinians, where we lie and then believe our own lies. And then want the rest of the world to believe them, too.”
    “The world in which Abbas and the Palestinian leadership live is a world of lies, fabrications and deception aimed at demonizing Israel and murdering Jews.”
    “The only astonishing thing is that Abbas and the Palestinian leaders continue to refer to their wave of terrorism and bloodbath as a “peaceful, popular uprising.””
    “The terrorists were doubtless inspired by their president’s words. It is this kind of officially-sanctioned rhetoric that encourages young Palestinians to stab the first Jew they see.”
    “This is not only a mountainous lie; it is an attempt on the part of the Palestinian Authority leadership to deceive the world into believing that Israeli security forces killed these poor innocent terrorists who were merely part of a peaceful protest. These “innocent” Palestinian men and women were “merely” in the process of trying to stab people to death.” {Shmuel Galor}

  4. BatSheva Dor says:

    Terror phenomena is known to endanger most of the world. Israel has been always in the front line defending democratic and freedom values. If you have not been to visit Israel then you must do it. It’s an island of hope and progress for the whole world, in the midst of dark culture that slaughters they own without no right of defence. So who are you trying to empress by not showing who infects violence in our world? You are fostering twisted manipulated information … Show the real criminals! Show those who abuse Palestinian children, this crime has to stop!!! It is for the children that I am raising my voice! Palestinian children are terribly abused by their parents, who use them as a weapon for terror and martyrdom, while they fake propaganda which deceives and incites the world against Israel. Muslims marry few women and have many children, some of them have like fifty children each, as a war weapon. Terrorists are responsible for their children’s killing…..Look at Hamas own posting in Utube, they show how they train their babies to martyrdom and killing. The truth is exposed by them for all people to see! Palestinian terrorists use their children as a war weapon to incite the world against Israel. Huffington post : “Bashar al-Assad has killed over quarter of million Syrians, mostly Muslim, in two years — more than the number killed in Palestine in two decades. Thousands of Muslims in Iraq and Syria have been killed by ISIS in the last two months. Tens of thousands have been killed by the Taliban. Half a million black Muslims were killed by Arab Muslims in Sudan. The list goes on.
    But Gaza makes Muslims around the world, both Sunni and Shia, speak up in a way they never do otherwise. Up-to-date death counts and horrific pictures of the mangled corpses of Gazan children flood their social media timelines every day. If it was just about the numbers, wouldn’t the other conflicts take precedence? What is it about then?
    If I were Assad or ISIS right now, I’d be thanking God I’m not Jewish.
    Amazingly, many of the graphic images of dead children attributed to Israeli bombardment that are circulating online are from Syria, based on a BBC report. Many of the pictures you’re seeing are of children killed by Assad, who is supported by Iran, which also funds Hezbollah and Hamas. What could be more exploitative of dead children than attributing the pictures of innocents killed by your own supporters to your enemy simply because you weren’t paying enough attention when your own were killing your own?
    This doesn’t, by any means, excuse the recklessness, negligence, and sometimesoutright cruelty of Israeli forces. But it clearly points to the likelihood that the Muslim world’s opposition to Israel isn’t just about the number of dead.
    Here is a question for those who grew up in the Middle East and other Muslim-majority countries like I did: if Israel withdrew from the occupied territories tomorrow, all in one go — and went back to the 1967 borders — and gave the Palestinians East Jerusalem — do you honestly think Hamas wouldn’t find something else to pick a fight about? Do you honestly think that this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they are Jews? Do you recall what you watched and heard on public TV growing up in Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Egypt?
    …It is also true that much of the other side is deeply driven by anti-Semitism. Anyone who has lived in the Arab/Muslim world for more than a few years knows that”. Huffington post
    It is not Israel that does not want peace, on the contrary! Israel longs for peace! In any common disputes, each side thinks their truth is the only truth. But there’s a terrible betrayal here, which makes mediation (Israel/Palestine) almost impossible! The Palestinian were given a real chance to practice autonomy as a stage of maturing towards two states solution. For this purpose Israel has vacated by force many of Israeli people who built their homes on the Gaza strip and that is a very painful trauma which taught Israelis not to trust and not to take risks any more! The “Oslo Accords” were abused by simply terrorists! This chance showed their real intention, to destroy Israel. Hamas used this gesture for peace, to destroy Israel, first by bombing civilian homes where children are living. This went on for months over months of asking the Hamas to stop the bombing. Who can tolerate to live like that?! Instead of maturing towards two state solution, they have been doing all they can to destroy Israel, digging underground tunnels, training their children to kill and what not?! Who can be crazy or stupid to make peace with such barbarism?!! No manipulation and twisting of truth can help the breaking of the true chance which was given by Israel to the Palestinians. Muslims have tried to destroy Israel through number of wars, beginning one day after the UN declaration of the State of Israel and until now! The Hamas is focusing on terror. They have used everything which was given to them to buy weapons and to dig underground tunnels to destroy Israel. Who can make peace with terrorists?! They are filled with hatred, abuse their children, use them as human shields, and train children to martyrdom and killing. They do not succeed to destroy Israel by force, so now they are fighting by deceiving and inciting world’s opinion. These way how can peace be possible?!
    A video shot in an Al Qaeda camp shows boys as young as 3 years old being trained to wage war on British soldiers. These children are sons of Taliban “martyrs” being trained to replace their fathers.

    In Afghanistan, children are used as suicide bombers and human shields more and more. Similarly, there are reports that Hamas uses Palestinian children to carry out acts of terrorism against Israeli children.

    In radical Islamic countries, where the burning of a Quran in Florida and a cartoon in Denmark caused mass uprisings and violence, the use of tiny children for jihad generates no response. http://www.clarionproject.org/blog/islam-child-soldiers
    Israel is trying to resolve this unfortunate crazy situation of children terrorist by hand-picked treatment, to protect innocent Israeli civilians from being knifed or bombed by savages. Unlike Islamic rulers by mess. Your article shows
    blindness to the truth

  5. George Peters says:

    Israel has created this situation for itself, time after time, in the eyes of the West and the “Palestinians” (and the Left, both in and outside Israel). The number and magnitude of entirely self-inflicted wounds defies counting. (Give away Temple Mount? Huh? What were they thinking (smoking)?
    By signing Oslo, and implicitly, no, explicitly, legitimizing both the much exiled terrorist, gangster Arafat and his PLO, and – more importantly – the claim for potential establishment of a “Palestinian” State (which of course has never existed), it digs its own grave ever deeper. If you keep giving away land, Sinai, Gaza and part of Samaria (Sharon), why would you not expect Israel to next give away Judea and the rest of Samaria? What other conclusion would an Arab come to? Makes perfect sense. And then finish the job, of course….
    It’s actually very simple, certainly from the perspective of Israel’s enemies (Israel being it’s own worst enemy, but that’s hardly new news).. Given the basic elements above (which I oppose, as did most Israelis at the time, not in hindsight, but at the time, as did Netanyahu, adamantly, in 94-96, leading to his ascent to power in 1996), Jew Haters in the West can validly ask “Why then, is there still no Palestinian State”? The answer has to be because the Jews have retained Judea and Samaria, refusing to cede the land forming the basis of this prospective “state”. What other conclusion can any simple-minded observer draw from Israel’s own promises and actions? And to cement this view, Israel has settled some of this land, adding insult to injury (yes, a tiny amount, but that’s irrelevant – we all know its not about the settlements, about the occupation whatever…well..I do, others maintain a state of delusion: it’s older than Hebron 1929). Never mind that this is Israeli land, that there is no violation of 4th Gen Convention (although T. Meron of Israel’s Department of For. Affairs said in 1967 that it was, providing endless fuel for Bob Carr – see link below). It’s irrelevant. You just can’t contradict the logic above. It’s inscrutable, inexorable.
    There’s an old line – “if you want to get out of a hole, first you have to stop digging”. Israel seems never to learn.
    I wonder who will be the next member of Ismail Haniyeh’s (very sick) family they will provide medical treatment to next?
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    Jerusalem,13 Elul 5727
    18 September 1967
    To : Mr Adi Yafeh, Political Secretary to the Prime Minister
    From : Legal Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    Subject: Settlement in the Administered Territories
    At your and Mr Raviv’s request, I am enclosing herewith a copy of my
    memorandum of 14.9.67 on the above subject, which I submitted to the Minister of
    Foreign Affairs. My conclusion is that civilian settlement in the administered territories
    contravenes explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
    T. Meron

  6. Mat Gelman says:

    Gavran’s rantings are reminiscent of Melanie Phillip’s expression ‘Jews for genocide’
    He expresses fundamentalist obeisance to the
    left ,and no regard to the Promised Land of Israel being G-d given to the Jews. The Jews are not the occupiers.
    Presumably Gavran wont keep Chanukah as he will identify with the dowtrodden Seleucid Syrians
    Perhaps all the nonsense is about the Land calling for us.

  7. Michael Burd says:

    Excellent piece David . It is depressing that are a conga line of Israeli leftist Jews waiting in line
    To have their filth published by Fairfax and act as Palestian useful idiots .
    I just wish they would all go and live in Gaza.

    Sam , agree with your comments .

  8. George Peters says:

    “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea””
    Were these not the borders of the original League Mandate (1922) – never since -overturned – for the reconstituted Jewish Home? Well..yes, of course they were. And Israel liberated those lands after an illegal Islamic occupation in a defensive war in 1967. Who is the real occupier? A good case can be made that the Arabs are illegally occupying Jewish land to this day.After decades of the Arabs appropriating Jewish history, maybe Israel could return the favor and appropriate the slogan for its own use.
    See my article ion International Law here:
    And again on J-Wire:
    Having said that, the Arab War against the Jews will not be won (or lost) in the Courtroom.

  9. Sam Tatarka says:

    Well said David,
    One point you may have overlooked was the author’s ill defined and naive call for an end to “the Occupation”. Whilst supporters of Israel tend to view that statement as calling for an end to the military occupation of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) those on the Palestinian side have a far more sinister end in mind. The seminal chant used in every pro Palestinian demonstration is “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea”. The “occupation” as thus defined is the entire State of Israel. Within that world view the room for negotiations to end the conflict is very small indeed if not non existent.

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