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Row breaks out in chambers as Aussie Parliamentarians criticizes ‘study tour’ of Israel

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A shouting match broke out in the chambers of the New South Wales (NSW) Legislative Council chambers on Thursday during a motion debate about a ‘Study Mission to Israel’ hosted by the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel under the auspices of the NSW Jewish Board Of Deputies, attended by a delegation of NSW Parliamentarians last January 6-10.

The purpose of the ‘Study Mission’ was “to build an understanding amongst the delegates of the complex and various issues impacting on Israel and other jurisdictions within the Middle East.”(pdf

While Legislative Council members who were part of the delegation sang the praises of Israel, Greens Legislative Councillor David Shoebridge (video above),  Labor Legislative Councillors Shaoquett Moselmane, and Lynda Voltz had a few other topics to discuss.

The Jerusalem Post reported on it here, and below is the transcript of a portion of the debate, it gets wild, I recommend:

Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE [10.28 p.m.]: I speak to this motion and note at the outset that it is a very unbalanced one. Indeed, a member asked if The Greens took part in this study mission to Israel. As far as I am aware, no Greens member of Parliament went on this study mission. That was primarily because of the one-sided nature of the itinerary, which is reflected in the one-sided nature of this motion. In a motion that purports to talk about building an understanding of the complex and various issues impacting on Israel and other jurisdictions within the Middle East, it is extraordinary that in the more than 100 words and five paragraphs of this motion not one word is mentioned about Palestine or the Palestinians. The human rights of the Palestinians are airbrushed out of the motion, just as they were airbrushed out of the itinerary of the study tour that travelled to Israel and some very small parts of the West Bank. Having heard the contributions of members who went on the study tour and having read the motion, I can see that this is little more than a public relations exercise for the Israeli Government. Indeed, this public relations exercise has been run in part through the offices of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies which arranged the tour and, I understand, partly paid for the study trip to Israel.

For the record, I do not recall getting an invitation from the Jewish Board of Deputies for this visit. However, had I received one I would not have accepted the invitation to go on this study trip because of the extraordinarily one-sided itinerary provided to members. If the Parliamentary Friends of Israel were interested in building an understanding of the complex issues in the Middle East, as they purport to be, their itinerary should have included a couple of other places to visit. First, the itinerary should have included visits outside the limited confines of Israel, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. How could members of this Chamber who wanted to get a balanced understanding of the issues facing the Israelis, the Palestinians and the Middle East travel to that part of the world and not meet with any members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, or at least those members of the Palestinian Legislative Council not currently being held in Israeli jails, many of them without trial and without being charged with any criminal offence?

How could members go there and meet with only one of the legislative bodies, the Knesset, and ignore the Palestinian Legislative Council? How could members, who wanted to get a balanced understanding of the issues facing Israel, Palestine and the Middle East, go to the other side of the planet and fail to visit Gaza, the world’s largest outdoor prison? How could members not go to see the way the Palestinians live under the illegal blockade or not speak to the local health workers about the conditions in Gaza, or the paramedics about how they respond to the impacts of aerial bombardments by the Israeli military? If they had visited Gaza they would have been able to see the X-rays that the Gaza doctors show of children’s kidneys riddled with kidney stones because of the saline water they are required to drink. The Israeli wells on the edge of Gaza are stripping out the fresh water from the arterial basin and the arterial basin is filling up with saline water from the sea. That saline water fills the wells. Most of the water treatment plants have been destroyed by Israeli bombardments and almost every child in Gaza has kidneys riddled with kidney stones and ongoing health problems.

Next time members should go to Gaza, look at the children, look at the damage, look at the X-rays and get some balance in their visit. If they had gone to Gaza surely they would then have gone to the West Bank and outside Bethlehem and Jerusalem and spoken to Palestinian villagers whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed by the apartheid wall. Talk to the farmers whose olive groves have been cut off by the illegal apartheid wall, who cannot get to the fields that generations of their family had previously tended because of an illegal apartheid wall built by Israel through the middle of their homes, villages and farms. Surely members could also have met with Israeli peace activists, such as Jeff Halper from the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, and spoken to Palestinians who have been illegally evicted from their homes and land to make way for internationally condemned settlements being built by the Israelis.

But, no. Members spoke to the Israeli settlers but they did not visit and speak to the people who have been evicted illegally for these internationally condemned, unlawful settlements that are now riddling the West Bank. How could members not have travelled to Hebron and done the Breaking the Silence tour, where former Israeli soldiers would have told them about what goes on in the occupied territories, about the violence and the discrimination perpetrated by the Israeli military and the settler movement against the native Palestinian population? Or were they Israeli voices that members wanted to edit out and not hear? The inconvenient truth.

The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: What about the Qatar and Hamas civil war? What about what Qatar and Hamas do to each other? Did you go to the police building in Gaza? Did you go to the town hall in Gaza where they chuck people off? Did you go to the police building in Ramallah where they throw people out the window?

Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: It is the inconvenient truth of the illegal, violent, discriminatory and brutal occupation in the West Bank.

DEPUTY-PRESIDENT (The Hon. Paul Green): Order! It is disorderly to interject.

Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: How could members not visit the Palestinian refugee camps in neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, where Palestinian refugees from 1948, 1967 and beyond live in sub-standard Third World conditions?

The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: What is the right of return for Vietnamese refugees?

The Hon. Lynda Voltz: Point of order: Members speaking in this debate have been heard in silence. Some members may not agree with other views expressed in the Chamber, but members should be allowed to express their views in a democratic way. I ask you to stop members of this Chamber from yelling down other members with whose views they may disagree.

DEPUTY-PRESIDENT (The Hon. Paul Green): Order! There is a motion on the floor and members are entitled to share their views.

The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: I’m just reminding him that there are two sides to the story.

DEPUTY-PRESIDENT (The Hon. Paul Green): Order! There are diverse views in this Chamber and, in terms of protocol, they are entitled to be heard in silence.

Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: How could members not visit those Palestinian refugee camps in neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, where Palestinian refugees from 1948, 1967 and beyond live in sub-standard Third World conditions and are denied their human right to return to their homes? Members did not speak to them, see their title deeds and see the keys they still hold for the homes that were taken from them in the illegal occupations and evictions that have been taking place for decades in that part of the world? It is extraordinary to note that Labor members, one of whom is notionally from the Left, visited Israel and small parts of the West Bank but did not travel to Nablus and meet with any of the Palestinian trade unions. How could members have travelled over there and not spoken to the firefighters in the Nablus fire station who were locked into their compound by Israeli tanks and snipers and prevented from doing their job as firefighters? They were prevent from savings the lives and homes of their families and friends for days and days as homes burned; children and other people died while the Israeli military shelled and burned their city around them.

The motion is not balanced; the visit to Israel was not balanced. It was not about getting an understanding of the complex and various issues but, rather, about getting a narrow part of the Israeli understanding. For members who went on such an unbalanced tour and failed to see the balanced truth, the oppression the Palestinian people face daily as a result of the illegal occupation of Israel, and to support this motion and preach to the rest of the Chamber about truth, understanding, peace and non-violence is extraordinary.

The Hon. SHAOQUETT MOSELMANE [10.48 a.m.]: All people have a right to a homeland—all people, including Jews, Kurds, Armenians and Palestinians. All people have a right to exist and receive the protections under international law and live in peace and security. Since the 1948 United Nations resolution to divide Palestine between the Jews and Arabs, the Palestinian people have been left to suffer the indignity and trauma of people dispossessed. I am not surprised that there is no mention in the motion of the Palestinian people, the Palestinian land, the Palestinian suffering, the Palestinian rights as people deprived of their land, persecuted, imprisoned, killed, traumatised and dehumanised. I wonder whether the members on their study mission considered the Palestinian people; I wonder whether the human rights of the Palestinian people crossed their minds. I hope it did cross their minds and that they pondered a little about the human rights of others now being dispossessed of their land, their dreams, their aspirations and their future as a people. Ever since 1948 the Israeli Zionist plan has been acquiring territory to expand the borders of the Jewish colonial state. Zionist ideology demanded—

The Hon. Walt Secord: Point of order: My point of order is on relevance. The member is not speaking to the motion and as the Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Israel I disassociate myself from his remarks.

The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: To the point of order: This is a fairly broad-ranging motion. While the member’s speech is not directly relevant to the wording of the motion, it would be unfair if the member were not allowed to continue to speak, considering the breadth of topic that has been debated in relation to this motion.

DEPUTY-PRESIDENT (The Hon. Paul Green): Order! The Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane may resume his speech. He is within the latitude of the general purpose of the motion.

The Hon. SHAOQUETT MOSELMANE: After the United Nations allocated 56 per cent of the Palestinian territory to a Jewish State, 80 per cent was seized by force. Christians and Muslims made up two-thirds of the population. Jews, who owned only 6 per cent of the land, have now taken 85 per cent of the former Palestine land. The 800,000 who were initially dispossessed, expelled from their land—now five million—live in diaspora. There was nothing fair or legitimate about the United Nations’ offer. It was carried out over the objections of the majority, but even this corruption of justice was not enough to satisfy the craving to take over people’s land. Arab voices were ignored. Not a single Arab was consulted on the plan. Now five million Palestinians are scattered across the globe and those still living in their homeland are living in two non-contiguous territories—Gaza and the West Bank—which makes up less than 20 per cent of the territory they originally had after 1967. I believe it is more like 14 per cent of the former Palestine that they now live in. Members will see from this plan the former Palestine territory and the land that Palestinians now own, just spots of land scattered all over.

The Hon. Walt Secord: Point of order: The member is using props. The use of props is out of order.

DEPUTY-PRESIDENT (The Hon. Paul Green): Order! The member would be well aware that the protocol of the House is that members should not use props to support their arguments.

The Hon. SHAOQUETT MOSELMANE: The Palestinians’ right to return to their homeland is a fundamental right of all people. It is a fundamental right that is at the heart of the Palestinian struggle. This must be addressed and resolved fairly. In all the speeches made in the House today, we have not heard about the Israeli assaults on Arab territories in 1956, 1967, 1982, 2006 and 2009. In the 2009 assault on Gaza 1,000 residents were killed, over 300 of them children, and 5,000 were wounded. As was described by a member earlier today, Gaza is the world’s largest open-air prison camp, containing 1.5 million people in a very small parcel of land. The Israeli assault continues on Gaza. According to the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, some 90,000 Gazans were forced to flee their homes. Residents of Gaza city and to the north had no water and no electricity; they were trapped, traumatised and terrorised. Nothing was said in this debate about the rights of those Palestinians, who were effectively murdered by this military machine. They did not have hospitals. The Israeli military machine effectively erased government buildings, apartment buildings and mosques, and it struck United Nations schools, as well as the compound of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, ambulances and hospitals. Their actions can be seen as violation of international humanitarian law.

The International Committee of the Red Cross accused Israel of breaches of humanitarian conventions for failing to bring assistance to wounded and starving civilians and preventing ambulance access for four days. B’Tselem, Physicians for Human Rights and other Israeli human rights groups have described civilians being fired on in doorways by Israeli soldiers, attacks on ambulance crews and aid workers, and schools being used as civilian refuges. The Human Rights Watch accused Israel of using white phosphorous munitions over densely populated areas of Gaza in violation of international humanitarian law. The United Nations Human Rights Council has condemned the Israeli offensive for “massive violations of human rights”. Amnesty International says that Israeli shelling of residential areas is “prima facie evidence of war crimes”. The organisation has also accused Israeli soldiers of using Palestinians as human shields:
It’s standard practice for Israeli soldiers to go into a house, lock up the family in a room on the ground floor and use the rest of the house as a military base.

Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories and Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University, says that Israel is in breach of the United Nations Charter, the Geneva conventions, international law and international humanitarian law. Falk says:
If there were the political will there could be an ad hoc tribunal established to hear allegations of war crimes. This could be done by the general assembly acting under article 22 of the UN charter which gives them the authority to establish subsidiary bodies.

But they did not do so. A Human Rights Watch investigation found that Israel had repeatedly and indiscriminately fired white phosphorus over crowded areas of Gaza, killing and injuring civilians—

The Hon. Walt Secord: Point of order: My point of order relates to relevance. I remind the honourable member that the motion states:
That this House notes that:

(a) The NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel under the auspices of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies hosted a delegation of New South Wales Parliamentarians on a study mission to Israel from 6 January 2013 to 10 January 2013—

The Hon. Lynda Voltz: You cannot read the whole motion.

The Hon. Walt Secord: I am just reminding the member of the motion.

The Hon. Lynda Voltz: Get to your point of order.

The Hon. Walt Secord: It was relevance.

The Hon. Lynda Voltz: Relevance has already been raised.

The Hon. Walt Secord: This speech is simply an anti-Israel rant.

The Hon. Lynda Voltz: You are trying to stop democratic debate in the Chamber.

The Hon. Walt Secord: This is simply an anti-Israel rant and he is not speaking to the motion.

The Hon. SHAOQUETT MOSELMANE: That is rubbish, and you know that.

DEPUTY-PRESIDENT (The Hon. Paul Green): Order! The Hon. Walt Secord is correct. Members have the motion in front of them, or have access to the motion. While I have been generous in general about speeches, the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane needs to stay within the purview of the motion and not give a lengthy history.

The Hon. SHAOQUETT MOSELMANE: If ever there were a group in need of protection from war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing it is the Palestinians, and yet the Palestinians receive little outside help.

The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: They received billions from the UN.

The Hon. SHAOQUETT MOSELMANE: In 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon.

The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: Billions.

The Hon. SHAOQUETT MOSELMANE: Deputy-President, I did not interrupt other speakers. I let them make their speeches without interruption. Previous speakers had the opportunity to speak without interruption and I ask that the same courtesy to be shown to me. I have only four minutes left to speak. I have the right to inject some balance into this debate. I am glad that I am a member of this House and have the opportunity to speak and inject balance and humanity into this debate. I have that right and I have four minutes to do so.

The Hon. Matthew Mason-Cox: Point of order: Could the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane retire while I take my point of order?

DEPUTY-PRESIDENT (The Hon. Paul Green): Order! The Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane will retire to his seat while a point of order is taken, as per the protocols of the House.

The Hon. Matthew Mason-Cox: I have listened with tolerance to the member. I take a point of order based on relevance. This is a motion about a study mission to Israel and members have noted the facts in relation to that study mission. The Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane did not even go on the study mission. He is having a little rant about personal issues. The motion is about a study mission to Israel, nothing more, nothing less. The House has been more than tolerant in listening to some of the garbage that he has been talking about.

The Hon. Trevor Khan: To the point of order. Whilst I agree with the Hon. Matthew Mason-Cox with regard to the words of the motion, speakers have raised a very broad range of matters. It is my argument that having allowed broad discretion in the debate so far and, to be frank, having allowed a scab to be picked, the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane is entitled to have his say. He has only a few minutes left in which to speak.

DEPUTY-PRESIDENT (The Hon. Paul Green): Order! I ask the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane to address his remarks to the motion. Mr David Shoebridge was given an opportunity to speak on a range of matters and I will extend the same latitude to the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane.

The Hon. SHAOQUETT MOSELMANE: As I stated, all people have a right to a peaceful existence and so do the Palestinian people. I want this House to know that and I want that comment to be recorded. They as well as the Jewish people have a right to peaceful existence and to a homeland. We have heard comments about how peaceful and democratic the Israeli Government is. I remind the House that in 1982 when Israel invaded Lebanon and then occupied Lebanon for 18 years they imprisoned people. People in southern Lebanon were tortured. I visited the camps and I saw the prisons. I invite members to go to these torture camps that the Israelis set up in southern Lebanon and see for themselves. They occupied Lebanon for 18 years. I resent members here accusing the resistance of being terrorist groups. I salute the resistance.

If the resistance in Lebanon had not forced the Israelis out of Lebanon I would not have been able to go to my grandparents’ home in southern Lebanon and visit the land I was born in. I salute them for their resistance. It is the right of people to do so. Imagine what the response would have been in 1941 or 1942 if we had condemned resistance against Nazi Germany. Guns would have been blazing at us for not resisting Nazi Germany. In Lebanon the resistance was able to force the Israelis out. In 2006, towards the end of the Israeli war on Lebanon, they dumped three million cluster bombs in little southern Lebanon. Those three million bombs are buried in the ground. A child walking on the ground will be blown up or lose a limb. An animal walking around will die. Three million cluster bombs will exist for hundreds of years and people will continue to suffer. In conclusion— [Time expired.]

The Hon. LYNDA VOLTZ [11.03 a.m.]: While I did not go on this Israeli study tour I have travelled to Israel and Palestinian, including Gaza and the West Bank, on a number of occasions. Unlike my colleague Mr David Shoebridge, if I received an invitation from the Jewish Board of Deputies to go on a tour of Israel I would certainly take them up on the offer because I am a strong believer in the notion that travel broadens the mind and that you should always listen to a person’s point of view with an open mind. Travel should expose us to beliefs that are contrary to our own and challenge some of our views, particularly of history and international politics.

However, if the reports of the study tour I have heard are anything to go by, I doubt there was any significant challenge to the existing views of those who went on the tour. As I am sure the Hon. David Clarke will agree, in the past I have discussed the issue of Palestine with him. I have also discussed it with other members of the Chamber. While we may not agree it does not mean I do not respect his views. I understand his views because I have had a lengthy discussion with him about them. Certainly the Jewish Board of Deputies are entitled to put their case in relation to the way they see the situation. I do not think anyone in the Chamber disagrees with that.

It is important as members of Parliament to remember to ensure there is balance in the views we express in this Chamber. I do not think balance has been expressed in the debate arising out of this study tour. I note that one of the few meetings with someone whose views may not have reflected those of the Israeli Government was with Abdel Fattah Hamayel, the Governor of Bethlehem, who is appointed by the Palestinian Authority. It is interesting that none of the reports by members included the views of the Governor of Bethlehem. In particular, I wonder whether some of the outrage that was expressed in this Chamber over the campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions [BDS] was relayed to the Governor who undertakes inspections of local shops to ensure that no products from illegal Israeli settlements are sold anywhere within Bethlehem. It is also interesting that the tour did not meet with the democratically elected mayor of Bethlehem given all the support for democracy being voiced around this Chamber.

The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: I met with him.

The Hon. LYNDA VOLTZ: It is a woman, so I doubt you met with him.

The full debate can be found here.

Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is a mom, a human rights activist, and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area and likes to garden. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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62 Responses

  1. Blake on March 15, 2013, 3:16 pm

    Fantastic! Dr Phelps was rightfully & honorably dragged through the mud!

    • annie on March 15, 2013, 3:20 pm

      glad you liked it. jpost was incensed about references to nazis and open air prison camps!

  2. just on March 15, 2013, 3:27 pm

    Thank you and bless you Green Legislative Councillor David Shoebridge, Labor Legislative Councillor’s Shaoquett Moselmane, and Lynda Voltz! And, thank you Annie for bringing this to light!
    It’s terribly important and wonderful.

    Mr. Obama– please take note. Pope Francis– you, too.

    from wapo/AP this morning:

    “VATICAN CITY — Like his predecessor, Pope Francis reached out to Rome’s Jewish community at the very start of his pontificate, pledging to continue to strengthen the increasingly close ties between Catholics and Jews.”

    No mention of any other “outreach” to any other religious group.

    • Kathleen on March 16, 2013, 9:50 am

      Ditto. This is amazing. Some rip roaring truth telling by Mr. Stonebridge etc. So NSW’s has the same problem the U.S. has their legislators taking free extremely biased trips paid for by public relation reps of Israel. Spun as a study trip.

  3. HarryLaw on March 15, 2013, 3:32 pm

    The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: I met with him.

    The Hon. LYNDA VOLTZ: It is a woman, so I doubt you met with him. Priceless.

    • marc b. on March 15, 2013, 4:40 pm

      that’s high comedy. another effin’ fool making up sh*t as s/he goes along.

  4. American on March 15, 2013, 3:33 pm

    ROTFLMAO…! typical zionist dodge and lie babble.

    #1..The faulty comparsion and deflection:

    “The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: What is the right of return for Vietnamese refugees?”

    #2….The silly easily trapped in lying:

    “The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: I met with him…(sez the zio)
    The Hon. LYNDA VOLTZ: It is a woman, so I doubt you met with him.”

    But I’m loving seeing some Aussies get hot and loud over their own zio fifth column and Israel

    • RoHa on March 15, 2013, 10:40 pm

      “It is also interesting that the tour did not meet with the democratically elected mayor of Bethlehem given all the support for democracy being voiced around this Chamber.

      The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: I met with him.

      The Hon. LYNDA VOLTZ: It is a woman, so I doubt you met with him.”


  5. eljay on March 15, 2013, 3:48 pm

    >> The motion is about a study mission to Israel, nothing more, nothing less.

    If the study does not include an examination of Israel’s…
    – history of terrorism and ethnic cleansing;
    – current status as an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State”; and
    – 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder;
    …then it is indeed something less than a “study mission to Israel” and something more of a “propaganda mission to Israel”.

  6. Reds on March 15, 2013, 4:15 pm

    “The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: I met with him.”

    “The Hon. LYNDA VOLTZ: It is a woman, so I doubt you met with him”


    • W.Jones on March 15, 2013, 5:24 pm

      Money quote.

    • just on March 15, 2013, 5:56 pm

      awesome expose of a liar.

      Increasingly, bit by bit, every day it is becoming easier to call out the liars– the stench of zio-liars is getting stronger and more astringent.

      It’s a bit like lancing a festering boil…………….a relief, to say the least. I do feel for the many, many wonderful Jewish people that are yearning for peace and justice for all.

  7. Shingo on March 15, 2013, 4:37 pm

    What a turd Phelps is:

    The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: I’m just reminding him that there are two sides to the story.

    Having just been reminded that the study did’t bother to investigate both sides of the story.

  8. David Doppler on March 15, 2013, 5:28 pm

    Love that British style parliamentary debate, with the extended rhetorical questions.

  9. eGuard on March 15, 2013, 5:29 pm

    Hear! Hear!

  10. eGuard on March 15, 2013, 5:54 pm

    Weird: the in screen time (top right) jumps. What happened?

  11. eGuard on March 15, 2013, 6:02 pm

    David Shoebridge notes that children in Gaza have kidney stones because of the freshwater situation.

    This is new to me. Repulsive.

    • annie on March 15, 2013, 11:24 pm

      yeah, there’s salt in the water..we’ve published reports on it. here’s one:

      • Citizen on March 16, 2013, 8:14 am

        @ Annie Robbins
        Thanks for giving us this light into the Aussie seat of democracy so we can see bribed Israel Firsters work away there too. If memory serves, Australia joined the US, Israel, and a couple of tiny island states as the sole UN opponents of a UN resolution addressing the illegal settlements problem. And, btw, kidney stones are very, very painful–doubling over painful. I have had a few of them. And these Palestinian kids suffering from them have a hard time getting treatment.

      • annie on March 16, 2013, 8:49 am

        doubling over painful.

        that’s my understanding.

      • just on March 16, 2013, 2:52 pm

        Kidney stones can and do make grown women and men cry out in agony..

        Imagine children screaming in pain, and their parents trying to comfort them without access to pain meds or lithotripsy.

        Imagine trying to water your ever- diminishing crops and livelihood and the lives of your family with SALT water.

    • Cliff on March 16, 2013, 4:06 pm

      Repulsive doesn’t begin to describe it.

      This is why ‘they hate us’ – their suffering is constant and daily.

  12. seafoid on March 15, 2013, 6:07 pm

    Losing australia. It happened to apartheid south africa as well.

  13. JennieS on March 15, 2013, 6:30 pm

    Thank you Annie. I will have to study this in more depth.

  14. talknic on March 15, 2013, 8:45 pm

    The level and direction of the debate was appalling. Three sentences were all that were necessary.

    The house and people of Australia need reminding that; on 28 January 1949 Australia recognized Israel as it was officially asked to be recognized, per United Nations General Assembly resolution 181 and; we have never extended recognition to Israel beyond those official boundaries.

    The travel invitation extended to territories, which according to the United Nations Security Council of which Australia is now a member, have been illegally acquired by war by Israel, illegally annexed by Israel and illegally settled by Israel.

    No Australian of good conscience should have extended such an invitation and no Australian of good conscience should have accepted it.

    • Ellen on March 16, 2013, 7:50 am

      Well said. But unfortunately those debates are often platforms for self promotion, where every second of time is taken.

      But your three sentences would have captured it!

      • talknic on March 17, 2013, 11:23 pm

        Already sent to Dr Shoebridge…. for the next occasion there are Hasbara Holidays for selected politicians

      • annie on March 18, 2013, 12:19 am

        excellent talknic!

  15. kayq on March 15, 2013, 8:54 pm

    I’m so glad that the Palestinian issue is arising into Australian parliament.

    • RoHa on March 16, 2013, 12:07 am

      It’s the NSW State Parliament, not the Federal Parliament.

      • kayq on March 16, 2013, 11:25 am

        It’s still parliament nonetheless.

  16. Mayhem on March 15, 2013, 9:11 pm

    “Robbins gloats about Aussie parliamentarians criticizing a ‘study tour’ of Israel” should have been the title of this article, which is illustrative of the kind of behaviour we see in our parliament all the time. She takes great glee in commenting on the off-the-topic diatribes that took place in the NSW parliaments. She should be aware that politicians who speak out like Shoebridge and Moselmane eventually get marginalised for showing themselves up as intransigents. Loewenstein may be right when he refers to “silly little politicians” in his blog at about this, Shoebridge and Moselmane being typical of this mould.

    Walt Secord summed up Moselmane’s speech aptly, “This speech is simply an anti-Israel rant.”

    These study tours present an opportunity for Australian politicians to go and see first-hand what is happening in Israel-Palestine. Our current and former prime ministers have availed themselves of the opportunity as has the foreign minister Senator Carr. Nobody will or can stop them from visiting or contacting others whose views may be contrary to the pro-Israel position. Shoebridge and Moselmane are either resentful that they haven’t been issued an invitation or too set in their ways to be open to views that might contradict their clearly anti-Zionist mindsets. Attitudes like theirs solve nothing.

    • annie on March 15, 2013, 11:33 pm


      glad you liked it!

    • rensanceman on March 16, 2013, 1:25 am

      An “anti-Israel rant”?? Actually, it was a factual account of Palestine’s history–past and present. Because Israel has demonstrated its maniacal and homicidal tendencies, it would not be a “rant” to report them.
      Both speakers’ messages may make their fellow members uncomfortable, but the crimes of Israel must be exposed so that this criminal entity will be brought to justice.

    • FreddyV on March 16, 2013, 5:31 am

      I love it when Zionists dismiss recounting of the amount of kidney stone cases in Gazan children as an ‘anti Israel rant’.

      It just proves how repulsive Zionism can be……

    • OlegR on March 16, 2013, 8:28 am

      The transcript states that this was an open invitation.
      They just didn’t bother to attend.

      • Sumud on March 16, 2013, 9:40 am

        The transcript states that this was an open invitation.

        Where does the transcript state this Oleg?

      • talknic on March 17, 2013, 11:27 pm

        OlegR “The transcript states that this was an open invitation.
        They just didn’t bother to attend”

        Uh? You just didn’t bother to read the transcript, preferring instead the phantom words that seem to pop into zionutters heads… like “negotiate”

    • Citizen on March 16, 2013, 8:29 am

      Walt Secord summed up Moselmane’s speech aptly, “This speech is simply an anti-Israel rant.”
      Says Mayhem.

      Yeah, the subject tour was activity that was suppose to give participants a better grasp of the “complex and various issues impacting on Israel and other jurisdictions within the Middle East.” Moselmane’s speech merely pointed out a huge array of root and on-going facts directly related to the actual complexity never addressed by the tour.

      The tour and its findings are the rant. Or, as better known, the hasbara.

  17. thankgodimatheist on March 15, 2013, 10:33 pm

    “The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: I met with him.

    The Hon. LYNDA VOLTZ: It is a woman, so I doubt you met with him.”

    As my son says: “Epic fail!”

  18. bilal a on March 15, 2013, 10:40 pm

    This Austrlian should be incarecerate for hate speech, ash should the SPLC’s new target, Singing Nuns:

    More evidence liberal secular zionists are more dangerous than the religious right.

  19. on March 15, 2013, 10:57 pm

    Imagine if you can ..the USA congress saying one word of descent against israel………….

    every member of the US congress has had angel’s dust blown on them by the ipac ers…

    so that their whole lot in life is to serve the chosen

  20. K Renner on March 15, 2013, 11:17 pm

    The dishonourable and disgusting peter phelps and dishonourable and odious walt secord.

  21. ssalbe on March 15, 2013, 11:38 pm

    David Shoebridge’s party name is The Greens, usually shortened to Greens. It is not called the Green Party. You can see that on the clip where his party designation is GRNS.

    Disclosure:I’m a member of the Greens albeit in a different state.

    • annie on March 15, 2013, 11:58 pm

      thanks. and thanks for visiting.


    • KimB on March 16, 2013, 9:00 am

      While David Shoebridge should be congratulated for his courageous, consistent and continued principled stand he has taken on Palestine in the NSW State parliament, it should also be noted that the NSW Greens and the Federal Greens on the whole have opted to be cowards on the issue of Palestine and the BDS campaign.

      In 2011, Zionist organisations and the Murdoch press went after the NSW Greens who had adopted a motion in support the BDS campaign. While they went after both the NSW & Fed Greens, they particularly focused on Fiona Byrne who was running for the 2011 NSW State parliament as Byrne had been mayor of Marrickville Council in Sydney which voted (with a majority of Greens and Labor party councilors) to also support BDS.

      The more conservative rightwing elements of the NSW Greens and the Federal Greens buckled and then cowardly demanded the scrapping of the NSW Greens BDS policy and refused to adopt a pro-BDS position in the national/federal Greens, thus throwing their principles out the window because they were more interested in winning votes than standing up for Palestinian human rights.

      More shamefully after the election, two NSW Greens parliamentarians voted in FAVOUR of a motion condemning BDS which had been tabled by a parliamentary member know for his fundamentalist Christian views and who has in the past been accused of anti-Semitism, including by the Zionists involved in the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Australian Jewish News.

      David Shoebridge and his Greens colleague John Kaye, however, to their credit stood firm and voted against the motion. I covered the Greens position around the NSW parliamentary motion condemning BDS and debate at the time on my blog:

      At the Federal level, the founder of the Greens and its now former national leader, Bob Brown also ran for cover over Palestine and BDS. Adopting the persona of a white male colonialist sitting comfortably in Australia, he proclaimed on the ABC (one of Australia’s national broadcasters) that he knew better than the Palestinians what was best for them. When Brown was asked on Lateline why he opposed the pro-BDS motin adopted by the NSW Greens, why he had opposed the Federal (national) Greens supporting BDS and why he wanted on record the Greens did NOT support BDS, he stated: “Because the motion was not in the interests of the people of Israel or of Palestine”.

      So yes, definitely credit where credit is due to the courageous David Shoebridge and John Kaye and other Greens members who have taken a principled stand. Unfortunately, there are far too many other Greens leaders and parliamentarians who aren’t as courageous or principled.

  22. Taxi on March 16, 2013, 1:42 am

    We need zionist instigated punch-ups and duke-outs at parliamentarian discussions for the ‘word’ to spread fastest.

    Just sayin’.

    Also sayin’ thank you Oz Greens, thank you Annie, and thank you Mother Internet.

  23. thankgodimatheist on March 16, 2013, 2:07 am

    I’d be interested in knowing who paid for those creeps’ “study trip” to Israel. Not that I don’t have an idea though..

  24. seafoid on March 16, 2013, 3:46 am

    “The Hon. SHAOQUETT MOSELMANE [10.48 a.m.]: All people have a right to a homeland—all people, including Jews, Kurds, Armenians and Palestinians”

    You will never hear a bot say that

    • RoHa on March 16, 2013, 10:17 pm

      “All people have a right to a homeland—all people, including Jews, Kurds, Armenians and Palestinians”

      Depending on what “homeland” means, I may or may not agree with it.

      If it means “all people have a right to be full and equal citizens in the land in which they have their home”, then I would agree.

      If it means that all groups have a right to a state (e.g., a right to an independent Kurdistan, or an independent Armenia*) then I disagree.

      *I know there is one.

  25. clubroma on March 16, 2013, 4:11 am

    Unfortunately, what David Shoebridge will find is that you can’t tell the truth about Isreal. On a wider issue, what people have to realise, is that both the major political parties in Australia, Labor (Democrats) and Liberals (Republicans) are both heavily pro-Isreal. The current Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, went on a ‘study tour’ to Isreal and her boyfriend ended up with a job with a Isreal lobbyist who runs a property development company in Melbourne. Australia is very much like the United States, – just a jewish colony.

    • Sumud on March 16, 2013, 9:56 am

      Unfortunately, what David Shoebridge will find is that you can’t tell the truth about Isreal.

      I disagree. More than one member of the NSW Greens have taken an outspoke stance on BDS and Israel/Palestine and in terms of public opinion in Australia most people have come to understand what a living nightmare Israel.

      Every time a new opinion poll comes out Israel has lost a few more positive percentage points in Australia (the BBC annual poll is the one I have in mind). Drip, drip, drip – we saw the attack on Lebanon in 2006, the bloodbath in Gaza, the ongoing siege of Gaza and dramatically the commando raid on the Free Gaza Flotilla, then Mossad’s abuse of Australian citizen’s passports for the Dubai hit and most recently the highly suspicious death of Australian/Israeli Ben Zygier.

      One bad news story after another for Israel; drip, drip, drip.

      It’s very very simple to look at Israel’s treatment of the indigenous population of Palestine and see in it the worst elements of our own colonial history…

      • Mayhem on March 16, 2013, 5:44 pm

        @Sumud, yeh tell us how it is. See Americans’ sympathy for Israel is at 22-year high

      • Sumud on March 17, 2013, 8:37 am

        See Americans’ sympathy for Israel is at 22-year high link to

        I don’t believe I was talking about America – do you?

        More fool you Mayhem, if you think that having US support now guarantees Israel of anything. Among the final countries to abandon apartheid South Africa were (not surprisingly) Israel and the US, then they did. When it is appropriate the US will jettison Israel quick as a flash – wait and see. Saddam’s Iraq was a US ally in the 1980s.

        Globally, any positive trend in the US on opinion of Israel is an easily explained anomaly. The BBC poll I referenced has opinion of Israel at an all time low, way down the bottom of the barrel with North Korea and Iran – and that’s with lashes of hasbara and pinkwashing:

        Evaluations of Israel’s influence in the world—already largely unfavourable in 2011 — have worsened in 2012. On average, in the 22 tracking countries surveyed both in 2011 and 2012, 50 per cent of respondents have negative views of Israel’s influence in the world, an increase of three points from 2011. The proportion of respondents giving Israel a favourable rating remains stable, at 21 per cent. Out of 22 countries polled in 2011, 17 lean negative, three lean positive, and two are divided.
        Israel’s popularity sinks even lower in 2012, new BBC global survey confirms

        The Electronic Intifada article above have a link to Globescan where you download the 39 page PDF in full.

        Returning to Australian opinion of Israel, from same report:
        In other Anglo-Saxon countries, views have worsened in Australia (65% negative ratings, up 7 points) and in Canada (59%, up 7 points).

      • Reds on March 17, 2013, 11:54 am

        “should support the Israelis more than the Palestinians, support the Palestinians more than the Israelis or should the U.S. treat both the same? To this question 55% of respondents answered that they should be treated both the same, while 31% said Israelis should be favored vs. just 4% in favor of the Palestinians.”

        The following question asked which nation Americans sympathized with: 45% said Israel, 13% said the Palestinians and 19 percent said neither. Sympathy for Israel stood at 48% in 2002 and climbed to 61% in 2010, according to the survey.

        “To the final question, whether they believe Palestinians and Israelis will or will not be able to form a lasting peace agreement that will work, the overwhelming majority of respondents, 69% in fact, believed that the two sides would not be able to live alongside one another in peace, while only 18% said that they would. This was up from 57% and 31% respectively in a similar 2005 poll.”

      • RoHa on March 16, 2013, 10:23 pm

        The political parties and the newspapers suck up to Israel, but the general population is less enamoured.

        I was at a function recently, and mentioned to some people that my son has four passports.

        “Don’t let him go to Israel” was the immediate response.

        People have not forgotten.

        Overall, it seems to me that Australian TV is more prepared to air programs that are critical of Israel than US TV is, though the news broadcasts seem prepared to peddle the Israeli line.

  26. eGuard on March 16, 2013, 9:00 am

    Another fine point from the minutes (see the motion debate link):

    The Hon. Paul Green: A number of members have spoken about their visit to Sderot. As a father of six children I could not imagine sending my children to a school with a playground that had cement caterpillars filled with bombs and expecting my children to find shelter in 15 seconds. Members of the delegation took a bus trip […] and saw the remnants of a school that had been hit by a bomb, which was a sobering experience. It would be frightening for any parents to send their children to schools or to parks not knowing whether they would return.

    Mr David Shoebridge: Was that when you were in Gaza?

  27. Kathleen on March 16, 2013, 10:33 am

    I am linking this one everywhere I can. A 9 minute close to complete summary of what has been going on in this conflict over the last 60 years. Stonebridge is remarkable and he had a tag team with him ready to come to his rescue if he was more than likely interrupted

  28. DaveS on March 16, 2013, 11:11 am

    Of course I agree that Shoebridge, Moselmane and Voltz are the heroes of this story, and that Phelps is the principal villain. However, a lot is made of Phelps’s apparent lie about meeting with the mayor of Bethlehem. He was being somewhat dishonest, but it wasn’t as bald-faced a lie as it appears. Here’s the more complete transcript:

    Voltz: It is also interesting that the tour did not meet with the democratically elected mayor of Bethlehem given all the support for democracy being voiced around this Chamber.

    The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: I met with him.

    The Hon. LYNDA VOLTZ: It is a woman, so I doubt you met with him.

    The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: No, in July last year it was a man—unless they have had an election.

    The Hon. LYNDA VOLTZ: By tradition the mayor of Bethlehem has always been a local Christian. The current mayor is the first women elected to the position, Vera Baboun, an academic from Bethlehem University. She is also a mother of five who single-handedly raised her children after her husband was detained by the Israelis for three years and who died soon after his release. . . I assume the person the Hon. Dr Peter Phelps said he met was Victor Batarseh, the democratically elected mayor.

    So Phelps apparently did not lie about whether he met the Mayor. He was, however, dishonest in a different sense. Voltz criticized the January 2013 tour of legislators for not meeting with the mayor, and Phelps replied, I met with him. It turns out, though, that Voltz’s criticism was absolutely accurate – no one on the tour met with the mayor – and that Phelps was being devious when he said he met with him. He was referring to an earlier visit, in July of last year, when the previous mayor was still in office.

    I hate to even partially defend the whining, sniveling jackass Phelps, but cutting off the transcript after “It is a woman, so I doubt you met with him” does give the wrong impression.

  29. DICKERSON3870 on March 17, 2013, 8:33 am

    RE: “Row breaks out in chambers as Aussie Parliamentarians criticizes ‘study tour’ of Israel”

    MY SNARK: I certainly hope the Aussie Parliamentarians who dared to criticize the ‘study tour’ of Israel have a very good security detail. What with all of the Australian passports the Mossad apparently has at its disposal, assassination teams would not have any difficulty slipping into Australia at will.

    SEE: “Zygier ‘planned to expose deadly use of passports'”, By Philip Dorling,, February 15, 2013

    [EXCERPTS] Security officials suspect that Ben Zygier, the alleged spy who died in a secret Israeli prison in 2010, may have been about to disclose information about Israeli intelligence operations, including the use of fraudulent Australian passports, either to the Australian government or to the media before he was arrested.
    Mr Zygier ”may well have been about to blow the whistle, but he never got the chance”, an Australian security official told Fairfax Media. . .
    . . . Mr Zygier’s detention came at an increasingly tense time in Australian-Israeli relations.
    On February 16, 2010, Dubai authorities revealed that suspected Israeli agents had used Western passports in a covert operation that resulted in the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in the United Arab Emirates.
    News of the Israeli passport fraud caused a strong reaction from the then prime minister, Kevin Rudd. On February 25, according to a US diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks, DFAT told the US embassy in Canberra that ”Australian officials are ‘furious’ all the way up the chain of command over the incident, and Prime Minister Rudd has vowed to get to the bottom of it”.
    Australian Federal Police investigators travelled to Israel to pursue the Dubai passport fraud case, and that was followed by a visit to Tel Aviv by ASIO director-general David Irvine, who met Israeli intelligence chiefs. Mr Irvine subsequently provided a classified report to the government on the passport fraud issue.
    On May 24, 2010, Mr Smith told Parliament that the government was “in no doubt that Israel was responsible for the abuse and counterfeiting of [Australian] passports” in connection with the assassination of Mabhouh and announced that a senior unnamed Israeli diplomat was being expelled in response to Israeli’s actions and refusal to co-operate with Australian investigations. . .

    SOURCE –

    P.S. Obama had better make certain that his passport is heavily guarded at all times during his visit to Israel!

  30. talknic on March 17, 2013, 11:34 pm

    Phelps comes out with nonsense Hasbara irrelevant to the legal status of Israel’s Internationally recognized sovereign extent…

    This caps off Phelp’s stupidity “The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: I’m just reminding him that there are two sides to the story.”

    Dr Shoebridge was rightly pointing out the ONE side the Hasbara Holiday makers would have been treated to

  31. ssalbe on March 18, 2013, 5:21 am

    A further follow on via a Facebook status of a federal Labor MP:
    Laurie Ferguson (Member of the House of Representatives Australian Federal Parliament):
    Lynda Voltz, Labor MLC, today said that she was surprised that a study tour organised by the Jewish Board of Deputies to Israel and Palestine appears to have narrowed the views of those members of the NSW Parliament who attended. She was also surprised at the unprecedented and undemocratic attacks on her parliamentary colleague, the Hon Shoaquett Moselmane, both during the debate and since as he defended the rights of the Palestinian people.
    “I was astounded at some of the outrageous statements made by those members who attended the tour which showed a lack of historical knowledge on Palestine and ignorance of the reality on the ground in the occupied territories, particularly Gaza.” Ms Voltz said.
    “For a tour that was meant to enlighten those who went they have returned with a particularly binary view of the Palestinian issue. Some of these statements included,
    Mathew Mason-Cox Liberal MLC,
    “This land from the river to the sea, this biblical homeland of the Jewish people, this State of Israel, sanctioned by the United Nations”.
    Fred Nile CDP MLC,
    “Sadly, when Israel gives up land for peace, as it did with Gaza, it gets rockets in return ……Gaza is not a concentration camp; every day, trucks are carrying in food, constructions materials and so on, and so that community is able to get the supplies that it needs.”
    Walt Secord Labor MLC
    “One thousand trucks a day go through the facility, and they balance the day-to-day operational needs of Gaza residents and businesspeople such as medical support, including transferring people to Israeli hospitals for cancer treatment”.
    Ms Voltz said that she had twice travelled through the Erez Border crossing into Gaza and was surprised that the study tour participants could come away with such a distorted view of the situation of the 1.6 million people who live in this 48 square kilometres of land.
    “If the delegation had bothered to pass through the checkpoint into Gaza as I have done on a number of occasions they may have been able to broaden their view”. Ms Voltz said
    “Perhaps if they had also spent some time visiting Dr Jean Calder at the Red Crescent in Gaza or Max Gayland who serves as the United Nations coordinator for humanitarian and development activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in the neutral zone, they would be aware of the extreme difficulties faced getting any supplies into Gaza.”
    Ms Voltz said the attacks on her parliamentary colleague Shoaquett Moselmane MLC both within the chamber and by the Israeli lobby group since had been outrageous and indicative of attempts by the conservative Israeli lobby group to stifle debate on the issue of Palestine.
    “I am still at a loss as to understand why Shoaquett is being singled out so vociferously for exercising his democratic right to express a view on the rights of the Palestinian people”. Ms Voltz said.
    Media Contact: Lynda Voltz 0413 382 474
    Links to the parliamentary debate:

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