Saturday, February 10, 2024

Australian Police: They Were Saying "Boo-Urns"

One of the more shocking incidents witnessed in anti-Israel protests that occurred immediately following Hamas' October 7 attack was the allegation that marchers in Sydney chanted "gas the Jews". But while several witnesses testified to hearing the chant, local police have now determined that they do not believe those were the words that were spoken.

Now, before I tell you what the police concluded was the chant actually deployed that day, I want to share a couple of reactions to this finding:

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils called for prosecutions of those who disseminated "false claims" that had unfairly vilified Palestinians and Muslims and harmed the "delicate fabric" of social cohesion.


Protest organiser Palestine Action Group, which long maintained the "gas" chant was never uttered, called for widespread media retractions. 

Spokesman Josh Lees suggested the wrongly captioned video was designed to damage the movement, pointing to "a long history of false claims of anti-Semitism used to silence critics of the state of Israel".

Strong stuff! Now here's what the police concluded was being chanted:

They "concluded with overwhelming certainty that the words used were, 'Where's the Jews?'" Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon said on Friday.

Ohhhh. It was only "where's the Jews?"! I can see why the organizers are demanding an apology -- it's getting to the point where an angry mob can't demand to know where the Jews are without someone saying that's antisemitic (rolls eyes). The only offensive thing I see here is the poor grammar!

For what it's worth, the umbrella Australian Jewish Association stands by its initial conclusion that the chant was indeed "gas the Jews."

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

"I Dressed Like a Crazy Pharoah for You, Man!" (Azerbaijan Edition)

Azerbaijan is holding a Potemkin presidential election tomorrow. But what makes this one especially outstanding is that not only did the authoritarian incumbent put a bunch of fake "opposition" parties on the ballot, he's also having them release deliberately idiotic policy proposals so he looks better by comparison (h/t).
The "opposition" candidates have brought some color to the election campaign by mooting a number of unlikely policy proposals: renaming the country the North Azerbaijan Republic, a nod to nationalist discourse that dreams of a greater Azerbaijan, including the ethnic Azerbaijani minority regions of Iran; formally claiming Armenia's Syunik Province as Azerbaijani; or sending Azerbaijani troops to support Russian forces in Syria.
"They want to talk about all these stupid ideas in order to show that Aliyev is better [and] that these are the only alternatives," Open Azerbaijan's [Zohrab] Ismayil said.

 Wasn't this a plotline on Community?

The presidential "debate" was equally farcical:

At a debate held before Azerbaijan's February 7 presidential election, the viewer could be forgiven for not being sure who was supporting the incumbent and who represented the opposition.

"President Ilham Aliyev has kept his word and fulfilled every promise he has made," said one candidate, Fuad Aliyev (no relation to the president), at the January 15 public television debate. Another candidate, Zahid Oruc, argued that great Azerbaijani statesmen throughout history would all have voted for Aliyev.

The president himself did not appear at the debate but sent an emissary, Tahir Budagov, to absorb some of the flattery.

"Dear Mr. Tahir, do you know the strengths of the candidate you represent?" Razi Nurullayev, the head of the National Front Party, asked Budagov. "For years, our party has stated that we will liberate Karabakh and restore the integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan, but your candidate has done it," Nurullayev said, referring to Azerbaijan's recapture of the ethnic Armenian-dominated region of Nagorno-Karabakh in September 2023.

One almost has to respect the commitment to bootlicking. Almost. 

You will not be surprised to learn that genuine opposition parties are boycotting the election entirely.