Best columns: International
Demanding the right to bare our buttocks
James Norman The Sydney Morning Herald
Incredible but true: It’s now officially a crime to expose your derriere in public in the Australian state of Victoria, said James Norman. For many Aussies, the sight of partygoers mooning in the street or the occasional streaker interrupting a cricket match “is almost an expected spectacle.” It might irritate some prudes, but we’ve never felt the need for a specific law “to police such larrikin behavior.” Yet thanks to a new amendment to Victoria’s Summary Offenses Act, people who indulge in these relatively harmless displays of public nudity could now face up to two months in prison. Repeat offenders risk six months behind bars. The law also bans the singing of obscene songs or ballads in public, which means most of the great Australian songbook. It’s a ridiculously over-the-top piece of legislation. More than 100 people have pledged to flaunt their naked backsides outside the Victorian Parliament House at the next full moon in protest, but police have warned them to keep their pants on or face “criminal charges.” It’s bonkers. If you go to Germany, it’s not uncommon to see whole families picnicking naked in city parks, but here we’re cracking down on mooning. Our “Victorian morality” has made us “the laughingstock of the world.”
Why don’t British royals ever visit?
Editorial The Jerusalem Post
Have we done something to offend the House of Windsor? asked The Jerusalem Post. In the 68 years since Israel was established on land once ruled by the U.K., no member of the British royal family has visited the Jewish state in an official capacity. In that time, the royals have toured Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and other Arab states. But the Middle East’s only democracy has yet to make it onto their itinerary. It’s true that Prince Charles has attended two state funerals here: Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s in 1995, and former President Shimon Peres’ last month. But on both occasions, Buckingham Palace stressed that he was representing his mother, Queen Elizabeth II—not the government. So why won’t the royals officially set foot on Israeli soil? Some argue that they’re biased against the Jewish state. Others claim that the U.K. doesn’t want to damage ties with Gulf Arab states, which are major buyers of British arms. Whatever the reason, the royals will soon “have an opportunity to make amends.” Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, in which His Majesty’s Government first supported the creation of a national home for the Jewish people. “After 100 years, it is time for the current majesties to show where they stand.”