Wednesday, March 13, 2024


Thoughts on Down Under      March 7 2024

For video recording:


    3 weeks of quiet, away from the daily news. Ofra’s brother & wife from Houston, Dror & Helene Zadok , took Ofra’s sister & husband, Ilana & Yitshak Birger, to get them out of Israel for some peace & quiet after the loss of their grandson in combat and us along with them, to  Australia & New Zealand. Sargeant Nadav Issachar Farhi.

No sooner do I come back to LA, and in my email box, a notice about a swastika drawn in front of the home of a Jewish resident , Leah Grossman, of West Hollywood.

Here’s the report by LA Times: ( Follow the link)

Jewish woman says camera caught neighbor drawing swastika on her seltzer


Bizarre, as he draws the swastika, is caught on camera, and is then caught on camera denying he did it.


Equally disturbing is that the man in question is a respected Methodist Minister, who had a position with the region as a superintendent. The Church leadership apologized for his actions ( sent to the Board of Rabbis)

***********To my community,
On behalf of the California-Pacific Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, I reaffirm our commitment to antiracism, including antisemitism. I am praying for peace and healing to those in our communities and beyond, who have been hurt by the recent actions of the Rev. Mark Nakagawa. …As we do our work of the supervisory process, I remind us all that acts of hate and racism should not be a part of our response, particularly to Jewish communities and Japanese communities.  I pray for healing for all those impacted and call us to live in life-giving support for one another.
We remain committed to stand with and be in service to all our neighbors. Please pray with us for all who are in pain.Grace y paz,Bishop Dottie Escobedo-Frank,Resident Bishop of the Los Angeles Area

The Swastika is a weird one, neither Nazi, facing right, nor Buddhist, facing left, but going in both directions! It’s not some other symbol in Japanese, as I can tell.

We can assume that the minister, who should have known better, was afflicted with some mental imbalance, as was the US serviceman who self- immolated in protest of the Gaza War. Yes, unbalanced people do unbalanced acts, but it is very balanced movers and influencers who drive the  Useful Idiots.

Here is the bigger atrocity around the corner:,interference%20by%20the%20warring%20parties.

“The war in Sudan risks triggering the world’s largest hunger crisis,” warned the Executive Director… today, the people of Sudan have been forgotten. Millions of lives and the peace and stability of an entire region are at stake.”Over 25 million people across Sudan, South Sudan, and Chad are trapped in a spiral of deteriorating food security. …

Will anyone be self-immolating when the world’s largest planned mass starvation begins?

 Will there be marchers blocking the 101 in protest?

More about useful idiots later.


So, our trip starts in Sydney, Australia.

Friday night, we had a delightful Shabbat dinner at a local Chabad in Paddington, with Rabbi Danny Yaffe and his Rebbetzin, Sara Tova. 26 visitors all crammed into a small living room, but with plenty of good food and good spirits—and all of us still reeling from Oct 7. One was a survivor of the Nova Festival, who had just been away when the attack took place, one from England, a professor of Medicine, who reported on what Jews in England were feeling.

On Shabbat Morning, Dror & Helene, got to the main synagogue for services and a delightful Kiddush lunch. They could get it because they read the instructions for visitors, which requires a valid passport loaded on to the synagogue’s website in advance. It’s ironic that we could get into a synagogue in Muslim Morocco on Shabbat, without such security clearance


As you can tell, not really packed. Most of Sydney’s Jews live elsewhere near Bondi Beach.


This is something you can’t miss seeing in Sydney:

It is the Sydney Tower, towering above the Westfield Mall and the name, Westfield, in huge letters at the top. Just about every mall in the US today is operated by Westfield, a company created by two Holocaust survivors, Frank Lowy and John Saunders( Schwartz). It is a reminder, that when you have gone through the worst that humanity can imagine, survive it, and have nothing to start with, then you have the drive and inner strength to achieve just about anything, as our own Joe Alexander can affirm!

From Sydney , we hopped on to a cruise ship and made our way down south. The first Friday evening, the cruise line, Princess, set up a room for Shabbat service, and a third of the crowd were a group of Israelis who had survived the October 7 massacre and were now getting out for some fresh air. Their group leader led us in a tribute to those who were no longer alive, our sister in law  read a poem about her grand-son, and I was volunteered to lead  Shabbat service for Anglo Jews who spoke no Hebrew and Israeli secular Jews, who almost never set foot in a synagogue.

We headed on to Melbourne.


Melbourne has a larger Jewish community, and here I was able to meet my long-lost grand-daughter to my mother’s cousin. She, Tony Platus, her brother and her father, and their cousins, are the closest living relatives on my mother’s side, family that I had made contact with only after my mother had died. The entire clan is in Australia! How they found me is a long story and I will retell it some day in the future.


I am not giving a travelogue- suffice it to say, we continued to Hobart to visit Kangaroos and Tasmanian devils, on to New Zealand fiords, and some of the coldest summer weather, beating a San Francisco summer. On, around to Dunedin, Wellington and Taurunga for the geysers.

Clearly, no visit is complete without visiting the Maoris.

Australia Aboriginal – 3% of Australia

Native Americans-2%

But Maoris-17%. This gives them a great amount of political clout, something that Aboriginals and Native Americans lack. Furthermore, there is a great deal of intermarriage, almost half of Maoris reporting European or other ethnic heritage as well. Maoris were also quick to pick up key elements of Euro culture, and now, there is a reverse process. There is a prevalence of use of Maori names and even common phrases , and Maori language is an official language, alongside English. I found this same self-identification in Morocco, there, with the Berber, or Amazigh, indigenous peoples, and with it, with ‘ indigenous” Jews who settled that region over 2000 years ago, long before the Arab conquest.

This brings me to the topic of “ Indigenous”.

Aboriginals of Australia are the record holders, having arrived from eastern Asia about 65=70,000 years ago. Native Americans came here from north east Asia perhaps 14,000 to 30,000 years ago. In that sense, the Maoris are Johny-come lately. Arriving in New Zealand from other Polynesian islands, by their own accounts, around the 1300’s, beating the Europeans by some 500 years, not much more.

This now brings me to the topic of indigenous, and why only Jews are not allowed to identify as indigenous, despite a continued Jewish presence, and continued attempts at return, going back longer than the Arab conquest, longer than the Roman conquest, back to the early Israelite tribes over 3000 years. But we are also a diaspora, and hence in a precarious position always.

Here is an indirect Maori tie-in:

Greeks and Jews: Two Diaspora Peoples

The histories of these two groups reveals the sinister implications of an ideology that holds that some people are more “natural” to a place than others.


 I assume, from the author’s name, that she is Greek indigenous.

Katherine Kelaidis


While many groups considered indigenous have lived within the same territory for thousands of years, others have not. Likewise, many ethnic groups that are not considered indigenous have lived in their ancestral regions for millennia. For example, the Māori did not arrive in New Zealand until around 1200 CE, which is roughly the time of the Fourth Crusade. By contrast, the Parsis, usually considered a Persian diaspora group, arrived in India before 800 CE. The Diné (Navajo) people arrived in the American Southwest around 1400 CE, around the same time as the Byzantine Empire fell to the Ottomans. Meanwhile, the Han Chinese can trace their ancestry to populations who arrived in the Guanzhong and Yellow River basins around 4,500 BCE.

No human population has been anywhere forever. 

One of the hallmarks of the history of diaspora people is their often-outsized influence. It would be difficult to think of two cultural traditions that have contributed more to our global culture than those of the Greeks and the Jews. …

The other hallmark of diaspora histories is persecution. As visible minorities who resist complete assimilation, diaspora people have always been easy targets. They are society’s resident outsiders. It is no surprise that it was the Jews and Romani who died in the greatest numbers during the Holocaust and who continue to be subject to violence and discrimination today. There is evidence to suggest that Hitler took inspiration from the Armenian Genocide, during which the nascent modern Turkish state persecuted Armenians, as well as Pontic Greeks, Christians, and non-Turkish Muslim minorities. The treatment of Greeks in Turkey, Northern Cyprus, and Egypt also follows this pattern.

In some regions, the presence of a Greek, Jewish, or Armenian community predates the arrival of the majority population. But because these peoples have a history marked by diaspora, they are not regarded as indigenous. In fact, they are often accused of practicing “colonialism” in places they have called home for longer than many people identified as “indigenous” have lived in their homelands. For example, Greeks arrived in Egypt in significant numbers with the armies of Alexander the Great around 332 BCE, while Arabs did not arrive in Egypt until the Middle Ages. But that did not stop Arab nationalists of the 1950s from marking them out as “foreigners,” a stigmatization that eventually led to the expulsion of that ancient community. Egyptian Jews and Armenians were similarly targeted and expelled.

To be frank, the world is Had Gadya-the British occupied Moghul India; the Muslims occupied Hindu India; the Indo-European language Indians themselves may have been the result of a gradual occupation of the earlier people of the Indus Valley. The prophet Amos may have been one of the first to recognize that no one is indigenous—the Philistines from Caphtor ( Crete) or the Arameans from Kir ( across the Euphrates).

Now, I turn my thoughts to the anti-Zionist and often anti-semitic protests, around the world, and what we saw in Australia and New Zealand:

I found this notice from the Guardian about anti-Semitic chants at a pro- Israel rally. The blood was still wet on the ground in Israel when this happened:   Just 2 days after Oct 7 massacre! ..


Australia’s prime minister, Anthony Albanese and the foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong, have condemned pro-Palestine protesters who were filmed chanting anti-Jewish sentiments in Sydney….

Chants heard at the rally included “f*ck the Jews” and “f*ck Israel”. On Monday evening, pro-Palestine protesters marched from Sydney Town Hall to the Sydney Opera House, which was lit up in white and blue in solidarity with Israel. Parliament House in Canberra was also lit up in the colours of Israel’s flag.

So, we too saw some of this in Sydney, probably a crowd of about 1000, maybe 2000 at most, or so marchers, going up and down the main fashion street.

I see one person with a flag of Palestine, then Aboriginal, then Turkish. Ironic mix, as the Turks, central Asian invaders, overran the indigenous Greeks of Anatalia and just a century ago, massacred the Armenian natives and have been fighting the indigenous Kurds, denying them a nation.



I spied one carrying a sign: Australia for the Aborigines. Since the bearer of the sign was  clearly “ white bread” or commonly here, a “honky”, I wondered if she intended to force all the 30 million European and Asians to repatriate en mass.

I saw a similar protest near the old Post Office building of Auckland. Only a few hundred, but this one much more gruesome and gory:


I listen to the speakers rattle off the number of those killed by Israeli forces.  So I hear a number of 400 children killed just in the West Bank in this period . Yet, when I go online to Palestinians sources, I find it much smaller, by a factor of ten.

This is the playing of number tricks that we have to deal with constantly. ( for the mathematicians among you, here is a statistical analysis of the numbers )

Then, another speaker openly states that it was the Israel Defense Forces that killed , burned, raped and pillaged all of these kibbutzim and villages along the border.

We have all of these verified video recordings made by Hamas terrorists themselves, the testimonies of the actual hostages, yet there is no lie too big for our speakers at these rallies.

So, to finish with a feeling of support, I have this Maori Haka dance answer to the Palestinian protestors:


and a pro -Jew rally in Sydney ( which began just as we had to leave to board the ship):

‘Never again’ pledges as Jews and Christians rally together

Posted on 19/02/2024John Sandeman

A rally in solidarity with Australia’s Jewish Community, opposing anti-semitic activity, drew a crowd of about 10,000 to Sydney’s Domain on Sunday February 18, featuring speakers Scott Morrison, Warren Mundine and a message from Sydney’s Anglican Archbishop, Kanishka Raffel….

Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison focused on the October 7 terrorist attack by Hamas, as the reason to stand with the Jewish community. “

“We say never again in relation to October 7th, because on October seven the free world failed in its promise that there would be a never again. We said there would be never again after the Holocaust. But in one single day, an atrocity was committed on the people of Israel and at a level that we had not seen since the Holocaust.”


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