Thursday, February 23, 2006

Revealing admissions

I think we are a society in the middle of a very complicated conflict. As I do admit, in this conflict many atrocities were committed by both sides, however, but I do recognize our own shortcomings, blunders and things. And the only solution to this situation — the only, the only solution — is to try and reach a final settlement between us and the Palestinians. There is no other way. There is no other way: to split the land into two states, two capitals, trying to find the best way to end this conflict, because much of the instability of the Middle East has to do with our condition. You don't need to be a bin Laden or a Saddam Hussein, who tried to put on themselves the mantle of the vindicators of the Palestinian cause in order to say that the Palestinian issue is a platform of instability in the region that needs to be solved.

But even when it is solved, let us not fool ourselves. Many of the problems that the West is facing today with the Arab world will persist. The Palestinian issue has been used frequently by many Arab rulers as a pretext for not doing things that need to be done in their own societies. But for the sake of the Israelis, I am not — I am not — when I say that we need to make concessions, it is not because I am concerned with the future of the Palestinians or because I am concerned with international law. I want to say it very clearly, it is because I define myself as an ardent Zionist that thinks that the best for the Jews in Israel is that we abandon the territories and we dismantle settlements and we try to reach a reasonable settlement with our Palestinian partners. It's not because I am concerned with the Palestinians. I want to be very clear about it. My interpretation, my approach is not moralistic. It's strictly political. And this is what I'm trying to explain in the book.

Former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami on Democracy Now!. You can read the rest of the transcript, of a debate with historian Norman Finkelstein, here, or listen to the audio here.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Paul Van Dyk is touring Down Under!

Paul Van Dyk is coming to Australia... including Canberra! I hope the ANU Refectory, which is the venue in Da Bez, has good acoustics.

For those who have no idea whom I speak of, or even if you do, I highly recommend listening to this live set (NB - you need to right click and choose 'save as' to download the set). One of the five best live sets I've ever heard!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Danna's demographic problem

According to Liberal Government backbencher Dana Vale, Australians are exposing themselves to Muslim takeover of the continent on account of 'rabid' abortion rates.

It's somewhat comforting to hear a Member of Parliament so blatantly expose her racist, ignorant views. It's good to see that there is wholesale condemnation of Vale's comments. But it is also worth noting that Vale's comments are probably mirroed by a sizeable minority of the Australian population.

Vale's comments were spurred on by debate in Parliament this week on an abortion pill, RU486. It has to be said at the outset that the debate on the pill is a refreshing, albeit rare, example of our democratic process. The issue is whether the Health Minister should approve RU486pill or whether the decision should be made by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The Senate voted overwhelmingly to give the power to the TGA. The next step is a vote in the lower house of Parliament (the House of Representatives).

Here's hoping this man no longer holds the keys to the draws that hold the pills.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Images from Karachi