By Vacy Vlazna
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” — (Gospel of Matthew 7:15)
The Jewish belief that when people die they go on a journey during which they review their life, ‘putting right those things which they believe they may have done wrong and making even better those things which they had done right’ doesn’t apply to everyone.
Some Australian businessmen, while alive, spent millions to redeem their social disgrace by covering their crimes with the garb of Zionist benevolence. Ironically, ‘redemption’ is the English translation of the Greek word agorazo, meaning “to purchase in the marketplace” or ‘buy back’.
Frank Theeman and Technion
Frank Theeman, an Australian property developer, set up the Frank Theeman Australia – Israel Exchange Scheme between Australian and Israeli academics in the mid-70s coincidentally about the time of the Juanita Nielsen murder (July 1975). Nielsen was the publisher of an alternate newspaper, NOW, that exposed the interlinking of big business, politicians, and police with organized crime then rife in Sydney. She lived in Victoria St, Kings Cross where tenants, protesting Theeman’s Victoria Point development were being violently evicted and harassed by Theeman’s thugs. Resident action, including Nielsen’s, caused development hold ups that was losingTheeman $1million dollars a year in interest payments.
Nielsen was last seen at the Carosel nightclub owned by an associate of Theeman, Abe Saffron. Her body was never found and no direct evidence was linked to Theeman, Saffron and Jim Anderson, who worked for Saffron, though they were considered prime suspects in the case.
Theeman’s legacy, the annual TSA Theeman Award exchange program between Israel’s Technion Institute and its Australian partner universities (Universities of Melbourne, Monash, Sydney, Victoria, Newcastle UNSW, and UTS) as well as the universities of South Australia and Queensland, is, paradoxically, shoddy trappings to fake respectability.
The Technion is an accessory to war crimes against Palestinians. It is integrated into Israel’s major armament industries, Elbit Systems, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries in the development of weapons and in the service of Israel’s illegal occupation.
Uzia Galil who holds the Honorary Chair on the Technion Board of Governors is a founder of Elron, a subsidiary of Elbit. Elbit provides security equipment that monitor the illegal Annexation/Apartheid Wall as well as drones to the Israeli Occupation Forces.
The present Deputy Chair and former president of Technion is Major-General (Ret) Amos Horev who was a Haganah fighter and a former Chairman of Rafael. In June 2010, he was appointed to the Israeli Turkel Commission of inquiry into the Gaza flotilla raid that (surprise! surprise!) “cleared the government and military of wrongdoing” saying that the “passengers were to blame for the violence.” In fact, the Israeli commandoes murdered 9 unarmed humanitarian workers in their piratical raid on the Mavi Marmara.
Technion boasts its graduate team is behind the development of the Iron Dome, partly funded by the US, at Rafael. Trapped in the Israeli-enforced siege, the people of Gaza have been used, in Operations Cast Lead and Pillar of Cloud, as experimental subjects to test the efficacy of the Iron Dome and other state-of-the-art weaponry. ‘For Gaza’s children the trauma never ends.’ (IMEMC)
Israel Aerospace Industries signed, in 2011, a multiyear cooperation agreement with Technion for conducting research in the field of autonomous systems. ie. drones. Israel deploys combat and surveillance UAVs for political assassinations, such as the assassination of Ahmed Jabari, a Hamas leader who was involved in peace negotiations in November 2012 . ‘The Palestine Center for Human Rights estimates that at least 800 people in Gaza have died because of drones since 2006.’
“Their drones hover like invisible demons above us, flying unseen and unheard high in the sky with their high-technology spyware. The drones follow suspects and beam back their co-ordinates to the soldiers who fire off missiles – as if they were playing some deadly video game with real flesh-and-blood targets.” (Ahmed Abu Hamda)
None of the recipients of the TSA Theeman Award have the moral conscience or the integrity of Professor Jake Lynch, Director of Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies who, in November 2012, refused to ‘accept Dan Avnon’s (Hebrew University) proposed fellowship between the institutions would have violated the CPACS’s official commitment to the global campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law which includes a boycott of institutional links with Israeli universities.’
Condemning Lynch’s stand, Ken Lander, the executive director of the Technion Society of Australia, clearly stated that ‘sending Australian academics to Israel helps to combat the delegitimization of the Jewish State on campuses’, in other words, academic exchange is a tool of normalizing the Israeli occupation and war crimes.
Abe Saffron and JNF
Theeman’s associate, Abe Saffron, dubbed Mr. Sin, was a major figure in Australian organized crime. His criminal activities which included illegal gaming, adult and child prostitution, pornography, sly grog shops, drugs, money laundering and extortion, were protected by police commissioners Allen and Hanson and the state premier Robert Askin who were given substantial bribes. He also maintained sordid dossiers on influential people blackmailing them to further his interests. Saffron eventually served 17 months for tax evasion. Tony Reeves closes his book, Mr. Sin: The Abe Saffron Dossier with the quote “He was scum. He will not be missed”.
Saffron invested vast sums to reinvent himself as a reputable pillar of society through ostentatious donations to charities including the Jewish National Fund (JNF). Like the Technion, the JNF is an accessory to war crimes – in this case the war crime of the illegal settlement of Israeli citizens of the Israeli colonies on stolen Palestinian land.
‘All of the Israeli settlements outside of Israel’s internationally recognized borders are illegal. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention — to which both Israel and the United States are signatories — prohibits any occupying power from transferring “parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” The United Nations, with such measures as Security Council Resolutions 446, 452, 465 and 471, has repeatedly recognized that Israel is in violation of this critical international treaty.’ (Stephen Zunes)
The UN Human Rights Council Report on the settlements released in January 2013, stated that Israel must with cease settlement activity and withdraw all settlers or face a case at the International Court of Justice.
Peter Abeles, Eddie Kornhauser and Haifa University
Sir (the knighthood allegedly bought through the corrupt Askin) Peter Abeles was also a close associate of Mr. Sin. Abeles, the TNT transport magnate (and Ansett partner of Rupert Murdoch) according to Reeves, moved “large quantities of illegal drugs around Australia and the world, and was closely associated with the notorious Nugan Hand Bank” that acted as a CIA front to finance the war in Laos by laundering drug money as well as drug dealing, arms shipments and large scale tax avoidance. Abeles was also linked to the US West Coast Mafia and the Four Corners current affair program’ claimed that TNT paid $US 300,000 to companies associated with east coast Mafia lieutenant, Benny Mangano.’
None of the above criminal dealings were mentioned when Abeles was conferred with an honorary doctorate by the University of Haifa (UH) in 1988.
As well as having a law faculty building named after him, an honorary doctorate was conferred in 1996 to a generous donor to UH- Queensland property developer Eddie Kornhauser, against whom claims were made of money laundering and an early association with Mr. Sin. He figured in the in the Fitzgerald inquiry into police and political corruption. In Israel he was instrumental in planting, in honor of his mate, the Bob Hawke forest near Mount Carmel.
By the by, Tony Blair, a Quartet envoy, who should be charged with war crimes for the destruction of Iraq, also got an UH honorary doctorate in 2002 for (don’t laugh) ‘the establishment of peace in the Middle East and his friendship toward the State of Israel’.
Seemingly back then, the University of Haifa wasn’t so fussy, but these days it is far more discriminating- not surprisingly against Arab students given its Zionist connections.
The President of the University of Haifa is Amos Shapira, who in a recent past life was Managing Director of Cellcom owned by Nochi Danker, a board member of the ultra-Zionist organization, Jewish Agency for Israel. ‘The JA Board of Governors has up to 120 members divided as follows: 50% World Zionist Organization, 30% United Israel Appeal, Inc., (UIA) and Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), formerly UJC, 20% Keren Hayesod.’
While Shapira reckons he promotes equality on campus, when on the 15th November 2012 some Arab students stood for a minute of silence mourning the assassination of Jabari, Shapiro reacted to the hail of denouncements, by issuing a ban on all public activities on campus for 2 weeks. ‘However on the day of the ban Shapiro joined Zionist students and staff ‘assembled to support the attack on Gaza’ (EI) .On 5 February 2013, Arabic students were informed that they are not allowed to speak Arabic at the Academic Counselling Center.
UH’s Chairman of the Executive Committee is Ami Ayalon who features in the Oscar nominated documentary, The Gatekeepers. According to Daniel Walber’s review “Ami Ayalon invokes the concept of the “Banality of Evil,” perhaps without intending the full symbolic weight of such a reference. The former director of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, from 1996 to 2000 uses these words to explain how after enough time on the job, the killing of large numbers of people loses its psychological burden.’
While no amount of slaked lime will clean a shonky reputation, there is perverse logic in the likes of Theeman, Saffron, Abeles, Kornhauser et al turning to Israel for (at a price) an extreme makeover as its Zionist hasbara has created a state based on war crimes, crimes against humanity, international law violations into the ultimate Disneyland.
– Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.