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Nov 1, 2017

Rundle: old lies given new meaning in fraudulent Beersheba commemoration

The best thing you can say about Beersheba, a cavalry charge on a Turkish-held Arab town in Palestine, whose inhabitants had love for neither side in the conflict, is that at least it wasn’t, like Gallipoli, an invasion of a sovereign people in their homeland.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


Talk about your typically confused military operation!


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21 thoughts on “Rundle: old lies given new meaning in fraudulent Beersheba commemoration

  1. Draco Houston

    I hadn’t heard of ‘Keeping Australia Safe’, there’s plenty of that on commercial TV already and I switch channel immediately when cop reality TV comes on. Gross, ABC. Have some damn dignity.

    1. klewso

      It’s your ABC …. doing propaganda.

  2. mikeb

    Like 90% of WW1 Beersheba was a dreadful waste of lives.

    If GR is referring to the Surafend affair in this “Australian troops appear to have conducted with a brutality towards civilians”, then it should be noted that the massacre was conducted by NZ soldiers. There may have been one or two Aussies involved, but that has never been confirmed – just assumed.

  3. zut alors

    Thank the gods for Rundle, a lone voice decrying this latest nationalistic floorshow. I’ve been mystified by the commemoration with Israel/Netanyahu not to mention the interminable direct telecast on ABC24 & media attention.

    No doubt if Billy Hughes had his way with conscription there would be more Oz horsemen’s deaths to laud. We are hellbent on learning nothing from history so why keep reviving these grim chapters?

  4. old greybearded one

    Reckon you should read the latest Wartime from the AWM to see where Beersheba fits in this. Yes crimes were committed by our soldiers, but there is little evidence they were special in this regard. There would have been more justice if they had left i to the Turks, then Israel would not have been able to steal the Palestinians land. Beersheba was a moderate event in a lesser theatre, especially compared to the contemporary slaughter at Ypres. The Palestine campaign also represented the absolute betrayal of the Arab allies who T E Lawrence organised. An issue he felt deeply till the end of his life. Not the last time the West betrayed Iraq. I reckon if the Aussies had thought they were fighting for the likes of Netanyahu they would have gone home. They would have found Johnny Turk far more honourable, though the Attaturk version, certainly not Erdogan.

  5. Len Copley

    It is my strong opinion that Guy Rundle is a racist bigot. He has just accused the light horsemen, of being capable of murder, he uses the white man black man argument, to further his verbal diarrhoea. He also has decided to denigrate Diggers from the first World War.
    He uses assumptions and generalises his statements to further his sick article.

    1. Matt Oliver

      War is organized by politicians, history is written by the victors and nothing is as it seems. Beersheba is a footnote in history and it deeply puzzles me why it should be so hyped by the media and the commemoration industry. After Rundles perspective I have a better understanding of Beersheba’s context.

    2. brendan wynter

      That’s a bit strong.

  6. graybul

    “What about the ABC? Is it succumbing further to the idea that it is not a public broadcaster, but a state broadcaster, . . . .” Too right Guy, concealed in plain sight. The Guthrie remit is for ‘change’; no problem there mate; healthy and desirable for the ABC to grow with and for . . . . BUT! From a valued, independent public broadcaster delivering trusted content; to a state broadcaster providing marketed content, origin concealed or denied is something entirely different. An insidious progression? Those independent young men did not ride into Beersheba for water; they rode to secure their right to speak and challenge all who would desire to withhold or remove their right to speak, listen and determine what they . . . might believe.

  7. BalexB

    Excellent, Guy. Thanks. Like all WWI commemorations this one conforms to popular myth-making. If we really wanted to commemorate the events the led to the end of the useless slaughter of WWI then we’d need to forget about all the battles, and give proper credit where it is due – to the mutinous German communist and anarchist sailors in Kiel and Wilhelmshaven who really brought an end to the war.

  8. Iskandar

    “The full-bore charge that is the commemoration of Beersheba (is this the last horseshit military operation in the culture wars? Don’t bet on it!) has got everything: a total confusion of context, a co-option of suffering, a masking of war crimes, Israel and its supporters inserting itself anachronistically into the act, and, amid a predictably clueless commercial media, an insufficiently critical ABC.”
    Love it! At least jingoistic celebrations of that stupid war between empires are relatively few and far between. In this case the main subtext is that dear old Aunty is progressing from a public broadcaster to a state-funded propaganda organ. I forced myself to watch it to the end and left it feeling disgusted and nauseated. Then this morning on RN Fran Kelly came on with a piece headlined “Tech giants grilled by Congress over Russian meddling”, sanitized as usual in fine print below the headline with the words “alleged”. A guest, Ben Flatgard, waffled on with five minutes of incomprehensible corporate gobbledygook, but in essence saying “it’s dem big bad rooskies wot dun it”. You know, like in that appalling Hillary Clinton interview on Four Corners! God help us. Thankfully the internet is there as an antidote.

  9. AR

    It is utterly obscene, but par for the course, to connect Israel to the war against the Ottomans empire.
    Small technical point – the Light Horse were not cavalry but mounted infantry which is a very different beast.

    1. Hunt Ian

      The opportunism of Netanyahu’s comments is clear but he was really connecting the charge to to the Balfour declaration, which assisted the settlement of Jews after WWI in British empire Palestine, for which the British were later rewarded with a terrorist campaign to force them out of a place they should never have controlled. The overrunning of Beersheba was a surprise to Turkish troops trying to hold the line against a British force attacking Gaza out of Egypt, which led to the collapse of the Turkish defence of Gaza.
      The Zionist movement played other parts in the defeat of the Ottoman empire. British sympathy for attempts to restore a homeland for Jews predated WWI and the Balfour Declaration. You can get no better insight into the sympathies that led to the declaration than George Eliot’s great novel “Daniel Deronda”, ranked 70 in the BBC’s list of best 100 British novels.

      The Balfour’s Declaration’s support for Jewish settlement in Palestine included a clause requiring protection of the rights of other inhabitants, which has been ignored by Netanyahu’s government in particular. No one in the ABC’s deeply boring blow by blow commemoration seemed embarrassed by that.

  10. klewso

    I think “What about the ABC? Is it succumbing further to the idea that it is not a public broadcaster, but a state broadcaster, uncritical of the government abroad?” might be a bridge too far?
    Wait until we have a Labor government to see how they swing – under a Rupert trained Guthrie?

    And as for “Keeping Australia Safe” – how much would that sort of PR (propaganda in reality?) cost on the free/open market?
    First episode “Operation Fortitude”?
    Or a history, from “Tiddles” Keelty to Haneef, with cameos from Ghoulie Andrews, Lucky Phil Ruddock, Alexander Doona, Honest John Howard and other support acts?
    Will each episode climax with a sketch from stand-up comedy duo Dutton & Pezzullo? They could sacrifice a different pet each week – or tar and feather different refugees?

    1. klewso

      ie a “different species of pet each week” of course (this week a puppy, next a kitten, a lamb, piglet, the occasional kid, caprine of course) ……. then again …. those two …. “Pet Semetary” ….?