Israellycool » Australia http://www.israellycool.com Down Under Punditry in the Middle East Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:31:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Eurovision Is Back And Israellycool Is On The Case! http://www.israellycool.com/2015/05/19/eurovision-is-back-and-israellycool-is-on-the-case/ http://www.israellycool.com/2015/05/19/eurovision-is-back-and-israellycool-is-on-the-case/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 08:19:05 +0000 http://www.israellycool.com/?p=76736 As long time readers of Israellycool will know there is a bit of a tradition on the blog to cover the Eurovision Song Contest. This baffling throwback to a by-gone era (it started in 1956) is really the prototype show for a televised music competition. It may be the spiritual godfather of all the Pop Idol, Voice and other singing talent shows that fill our TVs today.

If you’re not interested in the songs, however, I can assure you that the entire presentation of the event will probably be amongst the most amazing you’ll ever see. The camera movements, lighting and production are nearly always top notch. This year it’s in Austria (after the bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst won last year).

So this year Israel’s entry is Nadav Guedj singing Golden Boy. Here’s the produced video for his song:

He will perform this in the second semi-final on Thursday night.

Quoting from a tremendous blog by Benny Royston on the UK’s Metro Newspaper:

So can Israel qualify?

Despite regular top five finishes and three wins culminating in Dana International’s victory in Birminham back in 1998, Israel has struggled to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest in recent years.

They scored 4th place in 2005 with the incredible Shiri Maimon but that was the last time they exceeded expectations.

Last year Israel were talked about as a potential dark horse to win. But they’ve finished 14th, 13th and 15th in the last three years of semi finals.

This year, they have a combination of middle eastern music with contemporary pop and it does work. They’ve turned away from songs about peace and have stripped their entry back to a show for a music competition. This might bring them back to the final.

They’ve got the vocals and the song to achieve Israel’s best result in a decade. The song is different enough from the others to give it a good shot.

If Israel fail to qualify for the Eurovision final for a fourth year in a row, we may see one of the most influential countries in the competition’s history bow out.

You can see a glimpse of his rehearsal here:

For years people have asked what is Israel doing in a competition for Europe. Hopefully that will now stop. Because as debatable as it seems to put Israel in Europe, it’s pretty clear that this year’s hardest to explain “European” nation is now Australia. Yes, that’s right, Australia has a shot at the crown.

What’s going to be so interesting this year is watching which European nations give Australia a large score (12 points is the maximum). Will this map out the presence of Australian backpackers across the continent of Europe? We Shall see!

Once again from Benny Royston:

The United Kingdom has a good record of awarding it’s 12 points to the eventual winner, so it will be interesting to see if Guy picks up our top mark on Saturday night.

There’s also a chance the United Kingdom will get to host Eurovision if Australia win as they’re not allowed to host the Contest in Australia – it will go to a venue and broadcaster in Europe.

Whether Australia can overcome the challenges of Sweden, Italy or Russia as one of the four favourites is hard to call until we know the running order of the final.

The voting public of Europe and Australia might still have a surprise in store.

Czech Republic, Latvia, Norway and maybe Iceland, France and Spain are in with a shout.

The 2015 Eurovision Song Contest is just a week away and the excitement is starting to build.

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Guest Post (Shailee Mendelevich): Politics and Arts – Rattled by Red Rattler http://www.israellycool.com/2015/03/25/guest-post-shailee-mendelevich-politics-and-arts-rattled-by-red-rattler/ http://www.israellycool.com/2015/03/25/guest-post-shailee-mendelevich-politics-and-arts-rattled-by-red-rattler/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 06:35:00 +0000 http://www.israellycool.com/?p=75158 Shailee MendelevichShailee Mendelevich is the Assistant Director of Hillel in Sydney, Australia. She is currently completing her Masters in Law, Media and Journalism. You can contact her at Shailee@hillel.com.au or tweet her at @shaileem.

Our policy does not support colonialism/Zionism. Therefore we do not host groups that support the colonisation and occupation of Palestine.

This is the email response I received two days after inquiring to book a space at The Red Rattler Theatre in Marrickville, Sydney.

I was shocked, of course. I remember feeling a deep sense of injustice and indignation.

As the Assistant Director of Hillel, a Sydney-based not-for-profit, I explained to The Red Rattler that we create events for “Jewish students and young adults” and that we enable “meaningful performances to educate the audience on the theme of the evening.”

From this information, somebody on The Red Rattler Team read my email and put “Jewish” together with their preferred buzzwords such as “Colonialism” and “Zionism” and “Occupation of Palestine”.

They took a grand moral stand against an ‘evil’ they believed would be diminished by denying a Sydney-based Jewish community group the right to do business and create art with them. They revealed in the process the superficiality of their morality, ultimately falling hard upon the pedestal they built for themselves.

On the same day that the reply email was sent to Hillel, we reached out to Vic Alhadeff, official spokesperson for the Jewish Community in NSW. He sent an official email addressing the manager of The Red Rattler to resolve misconceptions that the team seemed to hold as well as acknowledge the categorical rejection of a “Jewish organisation to hire your premises because of a political position that your team holds in relation to an overseas conflict.”

A week passed and we still had no response and the decision was made to escalate our story to the national media. The Australian ran an article on Monday morning called ‘No to Zionism: theatre rejects Jewish act’, page 3 with my photo in accompaniment. I received numerous inquiries from journalists, was interviewed on the radio and received lots of feedback from my social networks that began to share and engage with the issue.

On reflection, a highlight from the many profound experiences I had came out of a reader’s comment made in response to the article in The Australian. The user showed outraged that The Red Rattler was “politicising the arts”. Surely the arts have always been political? John and Yoko in bed, Dylan’s ‘Times They Are A Changin’, the Flower Power movement…

We do not live in a world where any single industry is free of politics. However, we can choose how we act when greeted by the ‘other’. If we are the kind of people that use the pen before the sword then we must embody all that it represents; leaders that imagine a world where people of all creed, colour, faith and opinion live and learn together and are not diminished because their values do not match your own.

I am proud that the Australian people were as shocked as I was and applied social pressure that ultimately led to an apology from The Red Rattler management. We live in a country with a reasonable and fair minded majority who have shown that for today, people come before politics.

Hillel has since accepted their apology and is in communication to meet with the Red Rattler Management.

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Is BDSHole Jake Lynch Telling Porky-Pies? http://www.israellycool.com/2015/03/16/is-bdshole-jake-lynch-telling-porky-pies/ http://www.israellycool.com/2015/03/16/is-bdshole-jake-lynch-telling-porky-pies/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 10:58:33 +0000 http://www.israellycool.com/?p=74762 With pressure mounting on BDShole professor Jake Lynch to be sacked for his ostensibly antisemitic gesture of waving money in the face of a Jewish woman, he not only doesn’t think he did anything wrong; he thinks he should be praised for his restraint.

jake lynchSYDNEY University academic Jake Lynch is under renewed pressure over his support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, with calls for his sacking following a BDS protest last week.

University vice-chancellor Michael Spence has launched an investigation into a fracas that broke out on Wednesday when students stormed a public meeting on campus and disrupted an address by former British army colonel Richard Kemp. When security guards tried to remove the protesters, Professor Lynch criticised the guards; he says he was then attacked by a woman.

While Professor Lynch has written a letter to Dr Spence asking him to discipline the security guards, Mr Kemp wrote to the vice-chancellor claiming that Professor Lynch and another pro-BDS academic “were both apparently leading and encouraging the protesters”.

“At one point I observed ­Associate Professor Lynch waving money in the face of a Jewish student, a clearly aggressive and insulting act that seemed to invoke the stereotype of the ‘greedy Jew’,” Mr Kemp wrote.

The Australasian Union of Jewish Students has called on Dr Spence to sack Professor Lynch.

“Waving money in the face of Jewish people screams of the classical anti-Semitic falsehood that Jews are obsessed with money,” AUJS national chairman Dean Sherr said.

Professor Lynch, who is the director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, said he held up the bank notes to warn a woman who he said kicked him in the groin that he would sue her if she didn’t desist. He denied the action was anti-Semitic.

He said he had shown ­“almost heroic restraint” against the woman, while the security guards had, he said, shown no ­interest in curbing her actions.

Given Lynch has been sued for racial discrimination in the past, you would think no matter what the circumstances, he would not be stupid enough to do something so ostensibly antisemitic. Unless, of course, he could not curb his anger and true feelings.

But I also have to raise a question mark regarding his claim that the woman ‘kicked him in the groin.” Here is what a previous report mentioned regarding the incident.

In a video viewed by The Saturday Telegraph, Dr Lynch can be seen arguing with the woman before she throws out her right arm at him.

It is kind of hard to kick someone in the groin with your arm. And if a groin-kick did occur, why is it not mentioned as being part of the footage?

According to this piece by The Australian’s Gerard Henderson (which you should read in its entirety):

On Thursday, I engaged in correspondence with Lynch and he provided me with some brief iPhone videos of the occasion, which he had filmed. The footage indicates that protesters physic­ally resisted attempts by security to remove them.

Lynch’s iPhone video indicates that a middle-aged woman threw water at some demonstrators. A still photo of the occasion shows Lynch thrusting a $5 note in the face of a person he called the “older lady”.

Lynch advised me that he did this to warn the woman in question that he “would have no option but to sue her for assault if she carried on — which would cost her a lot of money”.

—-

In the event, Lynch’s legal threat was of no moment.

As Lynch conceded in his correspondence with me, he “emerged without injury” from the occasion.

Again, no evidence of the alleged groin kick – neither from the footage nor mentioned by Lynch himself. And the fact he emerged without injury would seem to reinforce this view.

This is all leads me to believe that Lynch is not being truthful.

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Anti-Zionist-Not-Antisemite Jake Lynch Needs To Explain This http://www.israellycool.com/2015/03/12/anti-zionist-not-antisemite-jake-lynch-needs-to-explain-this/ http://www.israellycool.com/2015/03/12/anti-zionist-not-antisemite-jake-lynch-needs-to-explain-this/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 07:29:44 +0000 http://www.israellycool.com/?p=74670 You may recall last year Shurat HaDin Israel Law Centre sued Australian academic Jake Lynch for racial discrimination for his BDS activities. My friend Andrew Hamilton was the lawyer involved. Unfortunately, Shurat HaDin dropped the case and Lynch walked away.

At the time, Lynch denied his BDSholing was racially ­motivated against Jews.

So let him explain this.

jake lynch

That’s Lynch at a disruptive protest against Colonel Richard Kemp at the University of Sydney, holding money to the face of a Jewish student.

So Mr Lynch, I invited you to explain yourself. I mean, surely this was not an antisemitic gesture, right? Perhaps you just wanted change. Because your actions against Israelis are not racially motivated. I mean, you said so.

In the meantime, I ask the University of Sydney to investigate.

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Melanie Phillips Talks Israel And Jews Down Under http://www.israellycool.com/2015/03/02/melanie-phillips-talks-israel-and-jews-down-under/ http://www.israellycool.com/2015/03/02/melanie-phillips-talks-israel-and-jews-down-under/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 09:01:39 +0000 http://www.israellycool.com/?p=74302 Noted commentator and broadcaster Melanie Phillips was in Australia last week. She recorded a number of interviews with notable Australians while she was there. You can listen to the whole thing on Voice of Israel.

VOI’s Melanie Phillips has been “Down Under,” chatting with Australian MP Josh Frydenberg and journalist Miranda Devine about Australian attitudes towards Israel and Islamic extremism. She also meets two women with remarkable stories to tell: novelist Suzy Zail on how she started writing Holocaust fiction for teenagers, and tsunami survivor Rebekah Giles, who made an astonishing discovery about her identity.

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Islamic Fundamentalists Leave Melbournites Poison Letter http://www.israellycool.com/2015/02/01/islamic-fundamentalists-leave-melbournites-poison-letter/ http://www.israellycool.com/2015/02/01/islamic-fundamentalists-leave-melbournites-poison-letter/#comments Sun, 01 Feb 2015 17:48:14 +0000 http://www.israellycool.com/?p=72986 Reader Jan sent us the following: A scan of a letter left in mailboxes in the Melbourne suburb of Prahran last Wednesday.

letter_drop_smaller

Why Prahran specifically was targeted is not apparent, although it does have a sizable homosexual population, and was the subject of a letter drop last year in support of the LGBTI community.

While police are apparently looking into this, no media outlet has reported it.

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Reader Post: Dalia Down Under http://www.israellycool.com/2015/01/21/reader-post-dalia-down-under/ http://www.israellycool.com/2015/01/21/reader-post-dalia-down-under/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 13:07:36 +0000 http://www.israellycool.com/?p=72455

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Thick Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilaly Disses Australians On Egyptian TV http://www.israellycool.com/2015/01/18/thick-sheik-taj-al-din-al-hilaly-disses-australians-on-egyptian-tv/ http://www.israellycool.com/2015/01/18/thick-sheik-taj-al-din-al-hilaly-disses-australians-on-egyptian-tv/#comments Sun, 18 Jan 2015 10:23:13 +0000 http://www.israellycool.com/?p=72312 Long-time Israellycool readers may remember Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilaly, who I dubbed “Catmeathead” for his despicable comments in 2006 blaming women for rape.

If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it … whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat.”

“The uncovered meat is the problem.

“If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab (Islamic headscarf which covers the hair neck and shoulders), no problem would have occurred.”

Others have dubbed him the ‘Thick Sheik”, which I wish I had thought of.

In any event, my archive is full of posts on his indiscretions.

Well he’s back in the news for more disgusting statements.

.

He can’t help but bite the hand that feeds him. Kind of like, well, a cat eating uncovered meat really.

Note how Keyser Trad yet again needs to clean up after Hilaly by invoking the “taken out of context/misquoted” defense. He’s the Smithers to Hilaly’s Mr Burns.

Anyway, you have to love the closing line by the female reporter.

Here’s hoping somebody will show this poor a-hole the way out of town.

Update: This story is actually from 2007. My bad.

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Muslim Zionist Qanta Ahmed Laments Being Exploited By Australian TV Show http://www.israellycool.com/2015/01/11/muslim-zionist-qanta-ahmed-laments-being-exploited-by-australian-tv-show/ http://www.israellycool.com/2015/01/11/muslim-zionist-qanta-ahmed-laments-being-exploited-by-australian-tv-show/#comments Sun, 11 Jan 2015 07:11:55 +0000 http://www.israellycool.com/?p=71972 Muslim Zionist Qanta Ahmed was interviewed by Australian Channel Seven’s Weekend Sunrise program back in November. Here’s the interview.

Notice anything amiss?

Dr Ahmed did, and she’s not happy about it.

qanta ahmed sunriseOn a recent trip to Australia I was booked by Ch7′s Weekend Sunrise to discuss Project Rozana, an Israeli-Palestinian initiative to train West Bank physicians (predominantly Palestinian Muslims)in Israel’s Hadassah hospital. As an ambassador for the Project, I was lock step with my ideals both as a physician and as an observing Muslim opposed to virulently anti-Semitic Islamism.

A veteran media commentator, my suspicions should have been raised when the producers didn’t indicate the nature of my interview, nor even confirm that I would be discussing Project Rozana. Minutes before live broadcast, the young segment producer Maddy still ‘didn’t know’ what the anchors would be asking.

The cameras began rolling and I described my experiences at The Technion, The RamBam Medical Center and at Hadassah Hospital, responding to the anchors’ evident curiosity. The close knit and fully integrated coexistence with which Israeli and Arab Palestinian scientists and physicians interact with their equally diverse Israeli and Arab Palestinian patients surprised my interviewers.

Later we discussed Islamism, a movement which as a Muslim I recognise masquerades as the great monotheism of Islam but is starkly totalitarian in ideology with a foundational tenet of subjugating democracy. More significantly, Islamism harbors cosmic enmity to all Jewish and by extension Israeli entities and institutions. It is because I am an observing Muslim that I can emphatically reject Islamism – neither anti-Semitism nor anti-Zionism have basis in Islam.

Ending the segment, the anchors were broadly smiling and engaged. This had been the last of 27 scheduled commitments for my eight-day visit. Satisfied I had been informative and shared a novel perspective, I moved to exit the studio.

An elegant woman stopped me in my tracks. Meeting her blue-gray eyes, I was surprised to find tears filling to the brim. Touching her heart, she said: ‘I am the senior producer of this segment. My name is Iman. I am very close to the Palestinian people of Gaza, but after hearing you speak, you have opened me to new ideas.’ She confirmed she was of Egyptian heritage and like me, also Muslim. Intrigued, I suggested coffee.

Tears promptly dissipating, Iman grabbed her wallet. Over lattes we compared notes, talked about the Project and spoke about Gaza. Iman mentioned that she had formed an independent documentary production company. Immediately, I invited her to collaborate with Project Rozana – by chance the Project is keen to do a documentary on Israeli medicine to reveal the kind of coexistence to which I had referred. We left on a high note. I felt my work in Australia had ended in the best possible way.

Hours later, I received the link of the broadcast. The shock was physical as I witnessed my exploitation. At each description of the pluralism and egalitarianism I had witnessed in Israeli medicine, the screen split to show the rubble of decimated North Gaza during the Israel-Hamas war, or the launching of an Iron Dome interception missile.Then the screen split to the Security Wall, shown from the Palestinian, not Israeli side.

Mortally wounded Palestinian children, injured in conflict were broadcast liberally.

The war footage had clearly been assembled in advance of my live interview without prior knowledge of what I would say. In an unseen control room, to the producers’ signal, as I responded with words like ‘coexistence’, ‘integration’ or ‘pluralism’, a technician pulled the trigger and rolled the stock ‘Israel as a terrorist state’ footage; detonating my truthful and universal message.

I had been reduced to an instrument of rank media opportunism. Worse, it was possible the tearful Iman had been the architect of my on-air vivisection. Self-described as the senior producer and ‘very close to the Palestinians of Gaza’, Iman had withheld remarking on this footage during our 30 minute coffee.

In my ignorance, I had unwittingly collaborated in my own exploitation by the Australian broadcaster who chose to cast me not as an anti-Islamist Muslim physician volunteering in pursuit of coexistence but as a vapid tool serving the malignant media construct of a two-dimensional anti-Semitic caricature of Zionism. This was a deliberate and opportunistic objectification of my identity as a Muslim and a physician, of the Jewish state reduced to an anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist mannequin, and of my political position as an opponent of Islamism; a position which entails significant personal and professional risk. This is neither journalism nor broadcasting; it’s pure pro-Hamas propaganda .

The producers hadn’t bothered to insert Hamas foot-soldiers which include recruited Palestinian children and youth who wage war on Israelis, nor reveal the damage wrought by its hundreds of rockets on Israeli civilians (of whom 23% are non Jewish – mostly Sunni Muslim), nor did Australians see the industrially rendered labyrinth of Hamas tunnels so central to the recent conflict. Weekend Sunrise prostituted my goodwill in the service of personal or official anti-Israeli and pro-Hamas propaganda.

—-

I felt intensely angry. To be whored out as I strive as an ambassador for a philanthropic mission with universal reach, to be debased as an instrument despite my decades long authority as a physician and Muslim humanist is nothing but obscene.

An on-air apology wouldn’t come amiss.

Read the entire thing.

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#illridewithyou http://www.israellycool.com/2014/12/16/illridewithyou/ http://www.israellycool.com/2014/12/16/illridewithyou/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 08:14:36 +0000 http://www.israellycool.com/?p=70977 muslims on bus israel#illridewithyou no problem. In fact, I do ride with you, all the time. You should be able to wear your hijabs without being harassed or persecuted.

But #Iwontridewithyou when my sympathy, energy, and prayers should rightly be with hostages held by your coreligionist.

Nor will I #patmyselfontheback for this nice gesture, or tout it as the best response to terrorism.

But there are plenty of others who will go out of their way to #ridewithyou, as a gesture.

Even if you were on your way to expressing support for those who try to #ridewithme, with explosives strapped to themselves.

Or those who want to #driveme into the sea.

Or otherwise throw me and my fellow Jews under the bus.

Or replace our Western countries with a state in which we have our own separate buses.

So I ask that while you are on your ride, you contemplate what freedoms your country provides you. And speak out loudly and clearly against those of you who want to take that all away.

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