28 Jul. 2006

Israel and Australian heritage

The first thing I thought when I heard about the Australian-Israeli man killed in his capacity as an Israeli soldier by Hizb'allah in Lebanon was that John Howard must have smiled when he heard the news that the guy had been an Australian. Maybe I'm being unfair to Howard, and he really does believe in the cause so much that the soldier's death will have caused him to shed a tear. Still, this incidental fact, that an Australian has apparently been killed by Hizbollah, does much to remove the, admittedly very modest, media pressure on the Australia state as an arch-supporter of Zionism's unfettered right to impose itself on the Levant.

While the metrics taken on human terms are 42–510 Israeli–Lebanese (although you can bet that the Lebanese, with their infrastructure disabled, are way behind in their body count), in Australian terms, the numbers are now 1–0. Of course, some of those Lebanese dead, known or unknown, might be Australian too. We'll see how much fanfare and interviews with their school chums the SMH treats us to when and if they are identified.

Non-Lebanese Australian solidarity with Israel is, of course, natural. The SMH has an article, 'Serving here is part of our Australian heritage', in which Sydney emigrĂ© Guy Spigelman, an IDF Captain, is quoted as saying just that, "Australians have a long history of serving in Israel, all the way back … to the Second World War. Serving here in Israel is part of our Australian heritage." One shouldn't of course neglect Australia's glorious ANZAC heritage either. To go to the Middle East and kill some dirty Mohammedans is what historically defined Australia as a nation, as we continually told, although not in those terms, of course. Yes, Australian soldiers in those days were on the side of the Arabs against the Turks, but what came of that was the lasting encroachment of Western imperialism on the region. That's not to say that ANZACs were evil. Far from it. They were all the things which are said of the diggers. They showed great solidarity for one another. They were the salt of the earth. One might be able to say the same things about IDF soldiers to some extent. But that does not mean, in either case, that they are not utterly racist. Again, their racism is not indicative of a lack of moral fibre—it's because they come from racist societies. The facts are simple: ANZAC or IDF, these are racist-imperialist formations in the Middle East. We should not be proud of being a racist-imperialist country. This is not our nature, but rather a cause to which the Australian character has been co-opted.