18 February 2019

Australian Greens have two faces and one is the ugliest of bigots

From The Australian, 13 February 2019, by JANET ALBRECHTSEN:

If Greens leader Richard Di Natale is appalled by bigotry and genuinely believes in tolerance and respect for people of different faiths, he must flush out the anti-Semit­ism in his party.

.. the [Australian] Greens ...is a party of bigotry at the organisational level, yet no Greens MP is brave or honest enough to expose the hypocrisy. On the one hand, Greens spout sweet-sounding words about moral­ity, compassion and tolerance; on the other hand, the party endorses bigotry.

There are a few good people in the party. Last year, NSW Greens upper house MPs Cate Faehrmann and Justin Field said the party had fallen victim­ to “extreme­-Left ideology”. NSW Greens lower house MP Jamie Parker engages with the Jewish community too.

But even the good people have allowed the NSW party to fall into a habit of bigotry. History warns us that silence emboldens bigots, and that bigotry is a necessary pre­cursor to the sort of political ­fascism responsible for monstrous crimes against humanity.

We can disagree over Israeli politics and policies, the future of the Middle East peace process, settleme­nts, refugees and much more. We can condemn the action­s of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu too. It’s a free country. We get to speak our mind and choose who to associate with. But when a political party treats the members of a religious group as ­person­ae non gratae, refusin­g to meet them or speak with them, that is bigotry.

If the Liberal Party of Australia refused point blank to engage with credible Muslim groups, we would banish its members as ­bigots.

If the ALP continually ­rebuffed efforts to engage with Christian groups, we would out its members as bigots.

If the Nationals rejected overtures, over many years, to meet with a community on the basis of its members’ religio­n, race, sex or sexuality, we would vote them into political irreleva­nce as extremists.

Yet the Greens have a history of out-and-out organisational bigot­ry towards the Jewish community in NSW. A few turn up to mark Hanukkah in NSW parliament. But none of them have attended special events arranged by the Jewish community to build tolerance and respect.

Last Friday in Allawah, in ­Sydney’s south, Jewish leaders arrange­d a regular Shabbat dinner for different community groups, one of many dinners where people meet, eat and talk to other people from different walks of life.

There was a Shabbat dinner for Liberal Party leaders and member­s last year and another a few months earlier that included members of the LGBTI community. There was a dinner the year befor­e for Labor politicians, member­s of Young Labor and union leaders. Another one includ­ed many members from the Chinese community and other civic groups. Yet another dinner involved people and groups who help settle new immigrants.

You get the picture. You would be hard-pressed to find more genuinely inclusive events. These are non-political. Yet still the Greens have, for years, refused to be part of these dinners.

At last Friday’s dinner, guests included Labor and Liberal politic­ians, state and federal, councillors, leaders from the local Anglican church, a leader of the Sikh community, the chairman of Advance Diversity Services, a leader from the Korean community and the president of a local Rotary Club too. But no Greens politician.

In his closing remarks, Vic Alha­deff, who leads the NSW Jewis­h Board of Deputies and started these dinners, glanced around the room at the broad array of people, thanking them for laying down their arms to be there and on “the degree of stillness which we have collectively ­achieved in removing ourselves from our frenetic, hectic lives”.

The purpose of the dinners is simple yet important, “engaging as Australians … and using the opportunity to explore our commonalities, beliefs and shared values”.

Not to command agreement or to proselytise. To speak to one another­ as respectful human being­s.

Many Jews might be drawn to genuinely green policies about the environment. Yet the Greens’ extremism towards Jews precludes engagement. That is not tolerance. That is anti-Semitism.

It is hypocrisy of the highest order, given that the Greens read­ily condemn the bigotry of others. Last year, the party’s federal leader Richard Di Natale slammed ­senator Fraser Anning for using the language of the Nazis when he referred to a “final solution to the (Muslim) immigration problem”. Di Natale said such language was “vile, racist, bigoted and has no place in our society”. Agreed.

The bigotry of the Greens has no place in Australia either. Sadly, the NSW Young Greens have learned the oldest hatred from their party organisation. A few years ago, they refused to attend a conference held at NSW Parliament House by the Australasian Union of Jewish Students. Labor and Liberal students attended.

There are plenty of reasons not to attend a bolshie student conference, but refusing to speak to or be near Australian Jewish students is anti-Semitism. As the AUJS said at the time, the ­boycott, under the cloak of the Palestin­ian problem, reduces all Australian Jewish students to one political issue 12,000km away. Not all Jews share the same views on any issue.

In recent months, neo-Nazi cowards hiding behind the Antipodean Resistance label have posted vile, bigoted and racist posters around Sydney and Melbourne. near schools, synagogues and other buildings.

They are the likely beasts who painted Nazi swastikas on a promenade wall at Sydney’s Bondi Beach at the weekend. Their active recruitment of more bigots is a moral monstrosity.

But let’s not kid ourselves. The organisational bigotry within the Greens is a slyer form of anti-Semiti­sm.

On Holocaust Remembrance Day in April 2017, the NSW Young Greens posted a Venn diagra­m on Facebook stating that Liberals and Labor love “locking people in concentration camps”.

They’ve learned from their Greens elders to engage in abhorrent Holocaust minimisation, likening offshore processing to determine refugee status to concentration camps where millions of Jews were murdered.

If Di Natale and other Greens are appalled by bigotry and vile, racist behaviour, if they genuinely believe in tolerance and respect for people of different faiths, they need to flush out the anti-Semit­ism in their party.

Until then, the next time a Greens politician brags about their progressive credentials, remember the organisational bigotry by the Greens towards Australian Jews.

Right now, a vote for the Greens — primary or ­preference — is a vote for bigotry.

13 February 2019

The University of Sydney sacks academic Tim Anderson

From J-Wire, February 14, 2019:

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Tim Anderson
Read on for article
The University of Sydney has dismissed controversial academic Tim Anderson following the suspension of his employment in December.
An employment review panel voted for Anderson’s dismissal by a 2-1 majority. Anderson has announced that he intends to legally challenge his dismissal.Anderson was found to have circulated lecture materials to his students in 2018 which, according to a letter from the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Stephen Garton, contained an “altered image of the Israeli flag” featuring a “cropped swastika.” The materials were allegedly used in a course on ‘Human Rights and Development’.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Peter Wertheim commented: “The University did the right thing both in terms of principle and its own interests. Anderson has been an enthusiastic apologist for the regimes in Syria and North Korea which have systematically murdered their own people, while likening Israel, a genuine western democracy, with Nazi Germany. These sorts of statements fall squarely within the working definition of antisemitism adopted by the 31 democratic nations of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).”
Mr Wertheim noted that the IHRA working definition gives examples that “may serve as illustrations” of antisemitic statements, including:
Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
Applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
According to Mr Wertheim, much of the material distributed by Anderson concerning Israel and international affairs amounts to “little more than propaganda”.
“This material has been presented with a gossamer-thin veneer of what passes for‘scholarship’ among the University’s small number of anti-Israel academics, in an attempt to make it seem respectable to the public and impressionable students. Anderson is entitled to his own outlandish views, but he does not have the right to impose them on students, or to compromise the reputation of the University and its wider academic community for maintaining high intellectual standards.”

06 February 2019

Amnesty International has lost its moral way with regard to Israel

The following article has been published in The Australian, 31 January 2019, by Alex Ryvchin:

Amnesty International has unveiled a new campaign to pressure digital tourism companies such as Booking.com, Expedia, Airbnb and TripAdvisor to delist properties held by Israelis living in the West Bank, and calling on governments to pass legislation that would result in the total boycott of those living in Israeli settlements.
It is just the latest attack in a long war waged by Amnesty and other once-respectable human rights organisations intent on turning public opinion against Israel and bringing about its economic and political isolation.
The origins of this lie in an infamous non-governmental organisations forum of the UN World Conference against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, in September 2001. The conference lives long in the memory for the appalling racism that marred an event convened for the very purpose of combating such conduct. Posters displayed Jewish caricatures and Nazi icons, and participants circulated copies of the anti-Semitic fabrication, Protocols of the Elders of Zion. US congressman Tom Lantos called it “the most sickening display of hate for Jews since the Nazi period”. The UN’s human rights commissioner, Mary Robinson, told the BBC “there was a horrible anti-Semitism present”.
Against this backdrop, the conference of more than 1500 representatives of international NGOs adopted a resolution that defined Israel as a “racist, apartheid state”, and called for the launch of a “global solidarity campaign” targeting governments, UN agencies and civil society to achieve the “complete and total isolation of Israel”.
This co-ordinated attack on Israel’s very existence and legitimacy, including through various forms of boycott, divest and sanctions campaigns on campus, and among trade unions, government and civil society, became the vehicle through which new generations of thought leaders would be exposed to the characterisation of the Jewish state as a uniquely wicked, unjust project that had to be unwound for the good of humanity. Amnesty was a key player in Durban and in the adoption of the resolution, and has been at the forefront of the campaign ever since.
In 2002, following an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin in response to the Passover massacre in Netanya, in which a Palestinian suicide bomber murdered 30 civilians during a celebratory feast, Amnesty accused Israel of carrying out war crimes and massacres of Palestinian civilians. The allegations, promptly reported by the BBC and other news outlets, placed the Palestinian civilian death toll at more than 500. But 52 Palestinians died, the majority of them combatants, along with 23 Israeli soldiers, in fierce urban combat.
False allegations of a massacre made by Amnesty lubricated the machinery of the political campaign against Israel, leading to street protests, campus hearings, reams of condemnations and anti-Israel resolutions across civil society and government.
In 2015, Amnesty was forced into a humiliating admission that it had lobbied the Australian government to accept murderous Lindt Cafe terrorist Man Haron Monis as a genuine refugee.
Last April, Amnesty’s secretary-general called Israel’s democratically elected government “rogue”. In 2010, the head of its Finnish branch called Israel a “scum state”. Its British campaign manager has likened Israel to Islamic State and been condemned for his attacks on Jewish parliamentarians.
Perhaps as revealing as Amnesty’s fixation on Jews living on the “wrong” side of a long-defunct armistice line has been its relative silence on the disturbing trend of rising anti-Semitism. In April 2015, Amnesty UK rejected an initiative to “campaign against anti-semitism in the UK”, as well as “lobby the UK government to tackle the rise in anti-Semitic attacks in Britain” and “monitor anti-Semitism closely”. It was the only proposed resolution at the annual general meeting that was not adopted.
The skewed morality revealed by Amnesty’s obsession with Israel reflects a broader decline in the non-governmental sector. Whereas groups such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch once led the struggle against Soviet tyranny and actively defended the rights of political prisoners, today they serve an increasingly narrow political agenda, one aligned with anti-Western, anti-capitalist forces. Amnesty’s apparent contempt for Israel, its ho-hum attitude to anti-Semitism, and its inordinate condemnations of democracies all stem from this malaise.
Of course, the settlements are a point of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Indeed, the parties identified settlements as a final status issue in the historic Oslo Accords signed between the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Israel in 1993. It was agreed that the questions of which settlements will be annexed to Israel and which will be dismantled or transferred to Palestinian sovereignty are to be resolved in direct negotiations in the context of a final peace agreement. But the pursuit of peace is not aided by Amnesty’s political manoeuvres and attempts to isolate Israel, which perpetuate conflict by other means.
Alex Ryvchin is the author of The Anti-Israel Agenda — Inside the Political War on the Jewish State (Gefen Publishing), and co-chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

02 January 2019

Christian Zionists welcome Australia’s support for Israel ...with reservations...

From Bridges for Peace, December 21, 2018:

Pro-Israel Christian Zionists welcome Australia’s support for Israel and recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel – but also express some concerns 

On Saturday 15th December Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison announced the Australian government's new foreign policy on various Middle East issues, including the Israel-Palestine conflict. 

Following an extensive review process since the Prime Minister’s announcement in October that he intended to review Australia’s policies on certain issues, the Prime Minister reaffirmed Australia’s unwavering support for the right of the State of Israel “to exist within secure and internationally recognised borders”. He went on to state that Australia’s national interests are well served by our productive and increasingly diverse relationship with Israel. Australia has always been one of Israel’s greatest friends and I intend for that to remain the case. This is underpinned by our nation’s shared values, including our commitment to democracy and the rule of law.”

The Prime Minister condemned in the strongest possible terms “the biased and unfair targeting of Israel in the UN General Assembly”, which has become “the place where Israel is bullied and where anti-Semitism is cloaked in language about human rights. It is where Israel is regularly accused of what Rabbi Jonathan Sacks called the “five cardinal sins against human rights: racism, apartheid, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and attempted genocide.”

The government also restated its position that regards Hamas as “terrorists who use the Israel-Palestinian conflict as an excuse to inflict terror”, an “condemns Hamas’ activities in the strongest possible terms”.

Regarding the Israel-Palestine dispute, the Prime Minister emphasized that Australia’s policy is guided by two principles: its “commitment to a two-state solution” (“a secure Israel and future Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security within internationally recognised borders”), which it regards as “the only viable way to resolve the Israel-Palestine dispute”, and Australia’s “longstanding respect for relevant UN Security Council resolutions”. 

Accordingly, the government has decided that “Australia now recognises West Jerusalem, being the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of government, is the capital of Israel”.

The Prime Minister stated that "furthermore, recognising our commitment to a two-state solution, the government is also “resolved to acknowledge the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a future state with its capital in East Jerusalem”, 

As a result, Australia will establish a defence and trade office in Jerusalem, and only move the embassy in support of and after final status determination". 

The new policy was immediately condemned by the opposition and by many in the Islamic world, and rejected by the PLO. Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat even called on Arab and Muslim countries to sever all diplomatic ties with Australia because of the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. 

Representing a broad collective of pro-Israel Christian Zionists, Christians for Israel and Bridges for Peace welcome the announcement. The government should be commended for boldly reasserting Australia’s deeply-rooted support for the State of Israel. Recognising West Jerusalem as Israel's capital is seen to be a step in the right direction, and will hopefully lead to the moving of the Australian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in due course. This recognition is an appropriate acknowledgement of Israel's sovereign right to determine its own capital city, and simply reflects the reality on the ground that all institutions of government are located in Jerusalem. 

However many of this collective voice representing Christians who stand for Israel have some concerns about the government’s distinction between "East" and "West" Jerusalem. The Australian Government's "acknowledgement of Palestinian aspirations for Statehood with East Jerusalem as capital", and the statement that the moving of the embassy will only occur as and when a State of Palestine has been established pursuant to negotiations will not assist the negotiations or make a Palestinian state more likely, because they do not address the main causes of the problem: the structural promotion of terror by the Palestinian Authority, the continued refusal of the PLO to recognize Israel as a Jewish State, the ambitions of most Palestinian groups to destroy the Jewish State and replace it with an Islamic State, and the failure of the Palestinians – notwithstanding billions of dollars of foreign aid - to create the conditions necessary for statehood. 

It is a great pity that the government has recommitted itself to the “Two State Solution” as the “only viable way to solve the dispute”. The reality is that the Palestinian claims are irreconcilable with the legitimate rights of the State of Israel. Negotiation about Palestinian statehood is a dead-end street. The Oslo agreements do not require the creation of a Palestinian state, but leave open the question whether Palestinian self-determination can be satisfied by alternative means. This would have been an ideal opportunity for the Australian government to have played a leading role in helping the parties to explore alternative solutions that will guarantee both Israel’s security and the Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations for autonomy. 

Further, the “acknowledgement” of Palestinian claims to “East Jerusalem” also prejudices Israel's position in its negotiations concerning the territorial status of Jerusalem, which is a final status issue under the Oslo agreements. Israel's position is that the whole of the city of Jerusalem belongs to the sovereign territory of the State of Israel on its establishment in May 1948. It is only because of Arab aggression that the city was divided between 1949 and 1967. The UN Security Council demanded in 1980 (UNSC Resolution 476) that foreign embassies in Israel be moved from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, following Israel's reunification of the city after the 1967 Six Day War. In Israel's view, UN Security Council Resolution 476 is based on an erroneous belief that "West" Jerusalem does not belong to the State of Israel. 

Israel’s claim to sovereignty over the unified city of Jerusalem is based on the San Remo resolution (1920) and the Mandate for Palestine (1922), pursuant to which the whole city of Jerusalem became part of the State of Israel on its establishment in 1948. Further, it is important to emphasise that UN Security Council resolutions on this issue are not binding. It is also significant that Resolution 476 conflicts with the earlier Security Council Resolution 242 (November 1967), which (amongst other things) implicitly acknowledged that Israel has legitimate territorial claims to at least part of the territories captured in 1967, and its right to secure borders. The PLO and Israel have agreed (in the Oslo Accords) that the principles laid down in Resolution 242 form the basis for their negotiations. It is entitled to assert its claims to territorial integrity in its negotiations with the PLO.  

While we commend the government’s commitment to the international “rules-based order”, in our view it gives too much weight to Security Council resolutions. While Security Council resolutions are important and should be treated with respect, Security Council resolutions under Chapter VI of the UN Charter are not binding, and the Council has in any event no jurisdiction to limit or compromise the territorial integrity of individual states.

For several years, Christians for Israel and Bridges for Peace have been facilitating grass roots initiatives on behalf of a much wider collective voice of pro Israel Christian Zionists liaising with the Australian government and Members of Parliament in Canberra to encourage the Australian government to recognise the unified city of Jerusalem as capital of Israel. In 2017, a petition with over 8000 signatures was delivered to the Australian Parliament requesting the Australian Parliament to take immediate action to move our embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the “eternal and indivisible capital of Israel”.The petition was endorsed by Senator James Paterson, who in his maiden speech in 2016 stated“I do not believe that the international community can continue to refuse to recognise their capital city of choice and the clear reality on the ground.  It would be a symbolic but important step for Australia to formally recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city and to move our embassy there.”

18 December 2018

Labor to pursue recognition of "Palestine"

From The Australian, 18 December 2018:

Now it’s time for the resolution on Israel and Palestine.

The resolution notes that conference:

1. Notes previous resolutions on Israel/Palestine carried at the 2015 ALP National Conference and the 2016 NSW Labor Annual Conference;

2. Supports the recognition and right of Israel and Palestine to exist as two states within secure and recognised borders;

3. Calls on the next Labor Government to recognise Palestine as a state; and

4. Expects that this issue will be an important priority for the next Labor Government.

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Penny Wong moves the motion.

“I want to acknowledge that the conflict between Israel and Palestine is an issue of great importance to many in our party,” Senator Wong says.

“It is of great importance because Labor is a friend of Israel. I am a friend of Israel.

“It is of great importance because Labor is a friend of the Palestinians. I am a friend of the Palestinians.

“It is of great importance because we, in Labor, not only deal with the world as it is, we seek to change it for the better.

“And so all who have come to this debate do so in the hope of contributing to peace and to a just and lasting resolution of the conflict between these two peoples.”

Senator Wong says the resolution makes clear Labor intends to continue to support the recognition and right of Israel and Palestine to exist as two states within secure and recognised borders.

“And it recognises the desire of this conference to recognise Palestine as a state,” Senator Wong says.

“We recognise that a just two-state resolution will require recognising the right of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples to live in peace and security.

“Labor will continue to call on both sides of the conflict to refrain from any actions that hamper peaceful outcomes for both the Israeli and Palestinian people.

“And we will continue to ensure that any decision we take contributes to peaceful resolution of the conflict and to progress towards a two-state solution.”

Senator Wong says Labor’s approach was largely bipartisan until recently...

Senator Wong commends the resolution to the conference, saying it makes clear Labor’s commitment to progressing lasting peace and a two-state solution.

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Tony Burke seconds Senator Wong’s motion.

“We have reached a point where the arguments to wait have become thinner, and the arguments to act have become stronger,” Mr Burke says.

The motion passes on voices, with cheering and clapping from the floor.

15 November 2018

Australia’s position on the Iran “nuclear deal” and Jerusalem

Statement on Australia’s position on the Iran “nuclear deal” and the prospect of formally recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel 

Our community wholeheartedly supports the prospect that the Australian government will review its position on the Iran “nuclear deal” and the prospect of formally recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocating its embassy there. This would be congruent with fundamental Australian values, promote peace and serve our national interests.

Moving the Australian Embassy to West Jerusalem, inside the 1949 Armistice Line, in no way prejudices the outcome of future peace negotiations unless one entertains the prospect that Israel’s long-standing sovereignty in the city is to be removed. Recognising that this is no prospect at all in fact promotes the cause of peaceful co-existence in the region.

Our community overwhelmingly supports modern Zionism as the political movement for the self-determination of the Jewish people. The wider Australian community is also supportive of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people.

The intractable, century-long Arab-Israel conflict is regretfully perpetuated by an apparently persistent Arab ambition to destroy Israel as a Jewish nation, which they pursue by demands for a purported “right of return” to Israel within the 1949 Armistice Line, incitement to terrorism, and by paying stipends and pensions to convicted terrorists. (See Appendix 1 for further detail.) Objection to the Jerusalem move are motivated by the same destructive ambition. (See Appendix 2.)

Formal Australian recognition of the obvious fact that Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s Parliament and all its national institutions recognises the continued existence of Israel as a Jewish nation. Until the Arab side reconciles itself to this, there is little hope of any resolution. Thus, such a move would support Arab-Israel peaceful co-existence. The US move in this direction is clearly intended to discourage continued Arab intransigence and refusal to negotiate. Australia should support it.
Some Arab and Muslim diplomats have criticised the prospect of Australia recognising Israel’s capital, and implied that bilateral relations and trade may be negatively affected. However, trade between the US and Arab and Muslim states, in the 8 months after the US announced in December 2017 that it would move its embassy to Jerusalem, have increased, not decreased. US exports to Egypt have increased by 93.7%, to Qatar by 85.5%, Morocco 22.9%, Lebanon, 16% and to Indonesia by 37.9%. Despite grandstanding and rhetoric by individual diplomats, nations continue to pursue their national interests.

Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham correctly pointed out that you “don’t… expect that two nations will always agree in terms of foreign policy positions as they relate to a third nation. But that shouldn’t get in the way of a strong bilateral relationship.”

And Greg Sheridan, in The Australia, 15 November 2018, also said: “Islamist politicians will not like any pro-Israel statement … some Indonesians will object to it. … so be it. It would be completely wretched, and damaging to our national interests, for the Morrison government to back away now from doing anything on the Jerusalem front.”

In relation to the Iran issue, Arab states will applaud Australian reconsideration of its support for the nuclear deal and any increased diplomatic efforts to contain Iranian hegemonic ambitions. It’s no secret that virtually all the Arab states are alarmed by the Iranian threat.

Finally, as the Australia-Israel & Jewish Affairs Council has pointed out: Australian reconsideration of both the Iran and Jerusalem issues will be well received by our most important strategic all: the USA – a critical national interest consideration at a time when Australian security and economic concerns vis-a-vis North Korea and China loom larger than ever.

Appendix 1 Arab Incitement to Terror
Arab terror attacks in Israel result from explicit calls by the Arab leaders to “spill blood.” Arab children have been taught to idolize the murder of Jews as a sacred value and to regard their own death in this “jihad” as the pinnacle of their aspirations.
The Palestinian Authority incites antisemitism, glorifies martyrdom and encourages terrorism, by awarding generous lifetime pensions to terrorists and their families, on a sliding scale – the more Jews they kill, the higher the pension.
An apprehended terrorist told interrogators in Israel last year: "I've accumulated large debts... I decided to do something serious, such as committing murder... and then my family will get money (i.e., from the PA) and will live comfortably... "
In June 2017, PA District Governor, Laila Ghannam, praised the "Martyrdom " of a 17-year-old terrorist who was shot and killed while throwing Molotov cocktails at Jewish civilians, praising the fact that rather than obtaining matriculation this summer, the terrorist "achieved the highest Martyrdom".
The PA’s incessant incitement perpetuates the conflict and grooms the next generation of terrorists by naming streets, public squares and even children's soccer tournaments after terrorists. In May 2017, the PA inaugurated the Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Center, named after a terrorist leader in the murder of 37 civilians including 12 children, in the Nablus district. In April 2017, Safa, the daughter of Abdallah Barghouti, a terrorist who prepared explosives for attacks in which 67 were murdered, read a letter to her father at her school assembly saying: "Father, I am very proud of you".
The apathy shown by the international community to this death-culture, and the unbalanced way subsequent violence is often treated by the international media is doing long-term, and possibly irrevocable, harm to the Arabs themselves, more than to anyone. Yet there is little international opposition to the exploitation of Arab children.

Appendix 2 The Muslim Claim to Jerusalem
In relation to the Jerusalem issue, it is instructive to review an essay by historian Daniel Pipes, published in 2001 about the history of Muslim "interest" in the holy city. The following is from the conclusion. (The link for the full essay is https://www.meforum.org/articles/other/the-muslim-claim-to-jerusalem.)
“...Politics, not religious sensibility, has fueled the Muslim attachment to Jerusalem for nearly fourteen centuries; what the historian Bernard Wasserstein has written about the growth of Muslim feeling in the course of the Countercrusade applies through the centuries: ‘often in the history of Jerusalem, heightened religious fervour may be explained in large part by political necessity.’
“This pattern has three main implications.
“First, Jerusalem will never be more than a secondary city for Muslims; ‘belief in the sanctity of Jerusalem... cannot be said to have been widely diffused nor deeply rooted in Islam.’
“Second, the Muslim interest lies not so much in controlling Jerusalem as it does in denying control over the city to anyone else.
“Third, the Islamic connection to the city is weaker than the Jewish one because it arises as much from transitory and mundane considerations as from the immutable claims of faith...
“In modern times, some scholars have come to the same conclusion: ‘Jerusalem plays for the Jewish people the same role that Mecca has for Muslims,’ writes Abdul Hadi Palazzi, director of the Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community...”

13 November 2018

Australians do support recognising Jerusalem

The brouhaha that followed the federal government’s announcement that Australia will consider moving Australia’s Israeli embassy to Jerusalem continues to sputter along. Immediately following the announcement the ABC reported, correctly, that Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi had expressed concerns about the announcement to Marise Payne. But the ABC also jumped the gun and reported, incorrectly, that Indonesia was considering putting the proposed Indonesia Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership on hold. The latter proposition was swiftly and emphatically denied by Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukito who confirmed that the deal remains on track to be signed this year. The deal is as much in Indonesia’s interests as Australia’s.
Whilst the Palestinian cause is a highly emotive one within the 56 states of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation, including Indonesia and Malaysia, none of these states has a record of putting its concerns for the Palestinians ahead of its own national interests. States rarely place sentiment above their national interests.  The Indonesian Trade Minister’s statements should not have come as a surprise.
A second tack taken by critics of the announcement was given voice by the Palestinian Authority’s envoy to Australia, Izzat Abdulhadi, who claimed that moving the Australian Embassy to Jerusalem would be ‘contrary to international law’ and would thus make Australia ‘an international pariah’. To support the claim, Palestinian spokespeople frequently cite UN Security Council Resolution 478 which they say is a decision binding on all States under Article 25 of the UN Charter. However, 478 only applies to action taken by Israel to assert its sovereignty ‘in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since June 1967, including Jerusalem’. Israel’s government precinct is located in the western part of the city, which has been part of Israel’s sovereign territory since 1948. It is not located in the part of Jerusalem ‘occupied [by Israel] since June 1967’. The US Embassy is located in the western part of the city, as would any other embassy, including ours.
A third criticism was the assertion that most Australians are opposed to moving our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. A Roy Morgan SMS survey undertaken on December 14-15, 2017 was dusted off to support this claim. It asked the question: Do you support or oppose President Trump’s recent decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel? The survey found 76 per cent of Australians opposed the Trump announcement and 24 per cent supported it. Implausibly, there were no ‘Don’t know’s.

The wording of the question suffered from several defects. It linked recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital with Trump, who on any view is a polarising personality. It also mis-characterised Trump’s decision. Trump did not ‘declare’ Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel; the US recognised it as already being Israel’s capital.

There is no way of knowing which of those who answered ‘No’ did so because they did not like Trump personally, or were put off by the controversy, or were misled into believing that Trump was ‘declaring’ Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital, rather than because they were opposed in principle to recognising the reality that Israel’s seat of government has for decades been in Jerusalem.
Israel’s parliament, ministerial offices, Supreme Court, President’s residence and PM’s residence have all been located in the western part of Jerusalem since the early days of the state. This is not part of the area that Israel captured during the 1967 war and is not designated by the UN as ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory’. It is not a part of the city that has been the subject of negotiations for a two-state outcome. Locating an embassy in the uncontested western part of Jerusalem would in no way pre-judge the future status of the contested eastern part of the city captured by Israel in 1967. It is ironic that some of those who argue against a unilateral embassy move on the false premise that it would pre-judge a permanent status issue in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, namely the future status of the eastern part of Jerusalem, are the very people seeking to commit Labor at its National Conference in December to extend unilateral recognition to a Palestinian state. That move would necessarily pre-judge a whole raft of issues, including east Jerusalem.
My organisation, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, was keen to test the veracity of the Roy Morgan survey. We commissioned YouGov/Galaxy to conduct a poll asking: In 1949, Israel designated Jerusalem to be its capital city, and has its parliament there. Do you think Australia should recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? The survey was conducted in February among 1,205 Australians. The demographic distribution of the sample as between age, gender, marital/parental status, geographical location, income level and educational attainment reflected the results of the 2016 census as published by the ABS. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.9 per cent.

The results paint a very different picture to the published Roy Morgan findings. A key finding of the YouGov survey was that when the question of Jerusalem was framed as one of whether to ‘recognise’ (rather than ‘declare’) Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and was asked without mentioning Trump or the US, Australians supported recognition by a margin of almost two to one (40 to 21 per cent).  Based on party preference, those supporting recognition outnumbered those against in every group except the Greens.
My organisation, the peak representative body of the Jewish community, has long supported recognising the reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and moving the embassy there. Of course Jerusalem strikes an emotional chord for all Jews. It has been our people’s spiritual and political capital since the dawn of the Iron Age 3,000 years ago. 
But we also believe it is in Australia’s interests, and the interests of peoples of the Middle East, for western nations to back the region’s only real democracy, instead of cravenly yielding to threats of retaliation or, worse still, conjuring up the spectre of threats which don’t exist
The announcement of the Australian government that it is open to considering whether Australia’s embassy in Israel should be moved to Jerusalem was made four days before the highly-significant by-election for the Federal seat of Wentworth. The timing of the announcement led to a storm of criticism. 
Yet when the issue of recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is considered on its merits, without being accompanied by the hoopla of Australian (or US) domestic politics, the idea enjoys far more support than opposition. Its time will come.