Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Prisoner X exposes double standards

By Joseph Wakim - posted Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Imagine if Prisoner X was an Australian dual citizen who was recruited and incarcerated by the Syrian Mukhabarat rather than the Israeli Mossad. Would our Zionist leaders remain silent as they are now, or demand the loyalty of Syrian dual citizens? Should those driven by their ideology be labeled as fanatical terrorists or noble nationalists, or should this depend on whether they are Arabs or Jews?

Local Arab leaders are no strangers to having their loyalty questioned after two 'Gulf Wars', even if they are Australian rather than dual citizens.

I have publicly urged the Australian government to interrogate Australian citizens who visit the war zones of Syria, especially those who claim to be on a humanitarian mission but are then posted and boasted on the social boast as military martyrs sacrificing for their 'brothers in arms'. Any military, para-military or intelligence service outside Australian defense and security forces should be deemed suspicious.


This does not mean that we should treat such citizens like the US Military Commission treated David Hicks who was charged with 'providing material support for terrorism'. But it does mean that we cannot turn a blind eye to the human traffic and 'rites of passage' between Australia and Israel. Prisoner X now has a name - Ben Zygier, and this illicit recruitment of Australian citizens has a name - exploitation.

The indoctrination of Australian dual citizens into Israeli identity is nothing new. The aptly named Birthright Israel Foundation offers a free ten day educational tour of Israel for 18 to 26 year olds who are first time visitors. Its local representative is the Zionist Federation of Australia which has facilitated over 3300 Australian visits.

Their itinerary is founded on the 'birthright of all young Jews to visit their ancestral homeland [to] a certain future for the Jewish people'. It has no place for education about uncertain future of the Palestinian people. Nor are visitors educated about the contradiction within their definition as both Zionist and 'democratic' given the many exclusive rights reserved for its Jewish citizens.

By their own admission, 'more than 60,000 young Israelis, many of whom are active IDF soldiers, have traveled with the participants'.

The active conscription into the IDF deserves sharper focus in the light of their recent plan to 'counter the steady decline in the number of conscripts since 2005'. This has been attributed to the drop in immigration by Diaspora Jews or Aliyah. According to Haaretz news, their recruitment drive targets a 15 percent increase from abroad such as Australia, plus a lethal combination of ultra-Orthodox youth and Arab Israelis.

We already had a wake-up call two years ago in Feb 2010 when a Hamas militant Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh was assassinated in Dubai by Mossad agents with a forged Australian passport. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith warned the Israeli ambassador that this was not the 'act of a friend', and then expelled a Mossad agent.


This incident taught us that an 'Australian passport allows Israeli spies to travel throughout the Middle East without attracting suspicion'. But during his recent interview with ABC radio, the president of the Zionist Federation of Australia Philip Chester vehemently denied that 'when we send Australians to live in Israel ...there's an industry that exists of harvesting ...passports in any ... illegal way.'

The unanswered questions about Prisoner X go beyond the peculiarities of Ben Zygier. They go to the heart of the taboo question on dual citizenship that the Zionist President evaded: 'At what point does loyalty to Israel become disloyalty to Australia?'

Just because Australia and Israel are allies in the Middle East does not mean that there will never be a conflict of interest. The 'anti terrorist' ends does not justify illegal means. What about differences in the United Nations such as Israel voting against the recent vote to upgrade Palestinian status whereas Australia abstained? What about the fact that Zionist recruitments into IDF are essentially a one state solution to ethnically cleanse the land of their 'birthright', whereas Australia supports a two state solution?

Our dual citizenship laws need to be clear about this loyalty question. Australians fighting for the 'Free Syrian Army' or answering fatwas for a holy war from muftis in Saudi Arabia should be interrogated, but we have no t heard of one arrest or criminal charge. And would Australian Syrians who are recruited to fight with the national army be just as culpable or is that different? How is it different to an Australian Israeli 'serving' in the occupied West Bank?

The Department of Foreign Affairs 'Dual nationals 'web page merely warns about the 'liability for military service' as a possible obligation, and the risk of imprisonment for defaulters. But this needs much greater elaboration, especially for countries which Australia regards as enemies.

Ironically, there has been gnashing of teeth over this one soul that we have never seen over the thousands of Palestinian men, women and children who are imprisoned, tortured and killed by the same Israeli apparatus.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

15 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Joseph Wakim founded the Australian Arabic Council and is a former multicultural affairs commissioner.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Joseph Wakim

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 15 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy