So much for free speech

Peter Matters writes: Re. “Rundle: Tim Wilson’s all-singing, all-dancing free speech freedom jamboree” (yesterday). For free speech to work, proponents must be deeply conscious of the right of free speech being accompanied by the responsibility not to be abuse it. Accordingly, Murdoch, Abbott and their friends — all from many of the speakers at the proposed symposium to Alan Jones — are doing the concept of “free speech” untold harm.

Les Heimann writes: Sure; another day, another propaganda fest for those who believe we have a right to be a bigot. The mob who keep secret their torture treatments in dealing with refugees. The same group who want unemployed people to starve for six months, to economically mistreat the elderly and the sick. The group who actively support the financially illiterate being ripped off by carpetbaggers.

This is the Liberal Party today. They are the government of Australia, and they are an extremist political group aided and abetted by a disgraced newspaper proprietor who sold his Australian citizenship for money.

“Free speech” ? Not a chance, look at the censorship proposals of the internet this extremist government will introduce.

Look at all their lies and arrogance. The threats that if their so-called budget is not passed by Parliament they will simply do things without reference to Parliament.

When good people do nothing bad things happen. How often will the so called “free press” ignore the bad things?

Israel struck first

Mike Rubbo writes: Re. “Israel: beacon of democracy or jackbooted occupiers?” (yesterday). Helen Razer makes a good point, namely that the awful photos of dead and dying babies in Gaza can become counter-productive and a sort of pornography of death. We know why people post these things, they are so horrible, and we want others to realise what’s going so terribly wrong in the hope that all our voices together will bring it to a stop.

Israel hit Gaza first, probably on Sunday, June 29. This surely means that every rocket that’s come out of the prison enclave, has therefore been reactive. The self-defence argument belongs to the Gazans not the Israelis.

Of course,  ” hit” can be something besides a physical act like bombing. It can be the wave of collective punishment that began right after the three West Bank students were kidnapped. What else can you call it? What society, working under the rule of law, announces who’s guilty, namely Hamas, on the very first day, and then proceeds to carry out 500 arrests, aggressively search over 2000 Palestinian homes, and proceeds to whip the population into a frenzy of the of hatred that culminates  in the burning to death of the Palestinian boy?

The second hole that needs to be punched is in the depiction of Hamas as solely a terrorist organisation and not a government. It’s easy enough to go back to the election of  2006 and discover the new government reached out to both Israel and the US offering a truce, a new beginning. It was not only rebuffed,  but treated as a pariah, and the population that had elected it was soon locked up in the world’s largest concentration camp.

Hamas has offered very reasonable peace deal, which includes the sensible and vital demand that crossings into Gaza be opened.

Israel sabotaged the last round of peace talks in April, drove John Kerry to distraction, and Martin Indyk to resign . Not only would they offer nothing,  but they had come up with a new demand: that Israel be recognised as a Jewish state, obviously something that Israeli Arabs and Palestinians in general could not accept. A misinformed public has no idea that the Palestinians recognised Israel’s right to exist 20 years ago. Not knowing that, people think the new demand is reasonable.

Why was Israel so angry that Hamas and Fatah formed a unity government? Because such a unity government would be a much more effective negotiating partner/adversary than they have faced before. A key reason for the present onslaught is not only to destroy the unity government, but to cripple any effectiveness to lead and bargain that Hamas  might have.

It is also relevant that there are massive reserves of gas off the shores of Gaza,  and the Israelis are determined to make sure that the Palestinians and Hamas  do not benefit. We quite familiar with wars being fought for scarce resources, so if this comes out, it’s readily understandable and a huge blow to the self-defence narrative.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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