30 September 2013

Islam and Islamism: making the distinction.

From a letter to the editor of the AFR, 28 Sept 2013, by Michael Danby MP:

Dear Editor,

Your report ‘Labor MP takes aim at NSW party on Islam’ does not reflect my views on the Labor Party’s interest in maintaining good relations with the Islamic community.

Your reporter correctly quotes me as saying ‘I am sure the NSW Labor Party does not decide who its senators are on the basis of such instructions from Sheik Hilaly’s successors’ but the report extrapolates from that that I question NSW Labor’s connections with the Islamic community. I do not.

Indeed, I encourage engagement as part of Australia’s pluralist ethos, adherence which is worthy and consistent in and of itself.

Engagement with the Islamic community means making a strong distinction between an important monotheistic religion – Islam – and Islamism. Islamism can and must be understood at the same time as a political ideology which is misused as a cover for extremism. It is a difference I have always made in every speech, in every statement, and every utterance. Confusing Islam and Islamism is like confusing Germans with Nazis, or Russians with Soviet Communists.
I agree with the thrust of your report but words are bullets in this life and death struggle with Islamism, a new totalitarianism. We cannot avert our eyes from this new evil and false ideology which has recently struck down another innocent Australian, Ross Langdon, his brilliant wife, their unborn child, and some 60 or 70 other innocents in a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

Some of your readers may think my distinctions pedantic. Yet I think one can strongly repudiate the unwarranted interference in the internal workings of the Labor Opposition, and at the same time, practice and espouse respect for an important religious group, especially as a member of a party that venerates equal and fair treatment.

Yours sincerely,
Michael Danby MP

Labor should support Israel

From The Australian Financial Review Editorial 27.9.2013:

The Australian Labor Party has a long history of support for Israel.
An attempt by the head of the Islamic faith in Australia to determine Labor’s choice for a Senate vacancy raises the troubling notion that Australia’s foreign policy has been set by an ethnic and religious vote in a handful of seats in Sydney’s western suburbs.

On Thursday, The Australian Financial Review’s Phillip Coorey revealed that the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammad had threatened to withdraw support for federal Labor in Sydney’s west if union leader Paul Howes was parachuted into a vacancy expected to be left by the departure of Senator Bob Carr. The Mufti accused Mr Howes of a “blind bias” for Israel.

Religious groups have every right to put their views on matters affecting their interests. But political parties need to make it clear they won’t change policy to please politically well-placed minority interests – particular when the views being challenged are in step with contemporary Australia.

Mr Howes, the national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, holds views on Israel shared by most across the political spectrum. He supports the continued existence of the only genuine democracy in the Middle East and a two state solution where both Israel and a Palestine state can peacefully co-exist. This newspaper shares those views.

This attempt by the nation’s senior Islamic cleric to influence politics is not an isolated event. Labor attempts to court the Muslim vote have caused friction in the party between those who believed in the traditional bipartisan approach to Israel, China and the US and those pushing for a stronger pro-Palestine position. When former NSW Premier Carr entered the Senate and became foreign minister in March last year he was forthright that Australia should act independently of the US in the fraught politics of the Middle East, in contrast to the preferences of then prime minister Julia Gillard.

In November, Senator Carr, who is expected to resign when the Labor leader is announced next month, led a successful cabinet move to roll Ms Gillard, who wanted to support Israel and the US in the United Nations on the status of Palestine.

Instead of voting to reject a resolution to give Palestine observer status in the UN, Australia abstained. Palestine easily gained its observer status. No doubt the Mufti noted that ­current ALP leadership candidate Bill Shorten voted with Ms Gillard on the issue. In contrast, Mr Shorten’s rival, the Left’s Anthony Albanese backed abstention.

Jewish immigrants and their descendants have made an enormous contribution to Australian society, as more recent Muslim arrivals are bound also to do.
But the Australian Labor Party has a long history of support for Israel. It should not barter this away for ethnic votes in a handful of electorates.

The Australian Financial Review

27 September 2013

Vinnie Molina, candidate for City of Vincent

Further to our earlier posting, here are a few facts about Vinnie Molina, candidate for City of Vincent council, that will provide some insights on his political views and his views on Isreal.

- member and activist of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA - YES IT STILL EXISTS - it generally works in association with the Socialist Alternative and Socialist Alliance. Their views and attitudes are similar.)

- former (and or current) National President of the CPA

- current organiser with the CFMEU (construction division)

- sought political asylum in Australia from Guatemala due to Communist Party actions against the military regime 

- has organised speakers at CFMEU Offices in the past to discuss 'war crimes' against Palestinians by The State of Israel.

 - some union leaders who know him personally have real concerns about his views not only on the BDS but his militant and extreme activism for Palestine as some sort of "class struggle" against Israel. 

26 September 2013

Australians should be clear about our values, and our friends.

From The Australian, 26 Sept 2013, by Greg Sheridan:
TONY Abbott and Julie Bishop intend to reverse the anti-Israel direction in Australia's voting pattern in UN resolutions that Kevin Rudd oversaw as prime minister and foreign minister, and which Bob Carr continued. This is an immensely important sign of the Coalition government's values and direction.

Canberra will revert to the voting pattern established by John Howard and Alexander Downer: less ambiguous, less apologetic, more straightforward in support of the only democracy in the Middle East.
Bishop has not issued any general voting instructions but she has made it clear she intends to restore the Howard voting pattern and to reverse the votes Rudd changed. She has also made it clear she expects to see every significant Middle East resolution. Nothing will be done by autopilot. Her view is that Australia's vote on each resolution will be decided on its merits but that she will not support any unbalanced, one-sided or unfair resolutions on Israel. As almost all UN resolutions on Israel fall into this category, this is an important statement of principle.
Bishop has had a brilliant start as Foreign Minister, making big calls, and the right calls, on Australia's aid program. She has had a stellar week at the UN, meeting in a few days the contacts she needs - which would have taken months or years to in the normal course of things.
This is the only benefit that will accrue to Australia as a result of its brief stint on the UN Security Council. The UN just now is fully taken up with Syria. But let's be quite clear. Nothing of consequence will happen at the UN on Syria. The real deals are being worked out between Moscow, Washington and the main actors in the Middle East. The UN is not a bit player. It is no player at all. Bishop is too smart to get carried away by its heady atmosphere.
The government's disposition to oppose the UN's traditional Israel-bashing is causing some angst in the bureaucracy, specifically in parts of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. When Howard and Downer decided to change to a more explicit position in 2003, they caused similar angst. Downer was rung 10 minutes before a vote, with the relevant ambassador pleading for permission to vote with the consensus. Downer insisted the government's policy be followed.
Similarly, in the early days, Downer would receive submissions from DFAT with three boxes: approve, not approve, discuss. A couple of times he circled "discuss" so he could explain to his bureaucrats why he was rejecting their advice. Departmental advice amounted to arguing that such an Australian vote would get some of the Arabs off side. Downer's response was that it didn't help the Arabs to encourage them in bad policy. The question was whether the resolution was right or wrong in principle. Mostly he just circled "not approve". DFAT got the idea.
It's important to understand the underlying dynamics. The UN, in its bureaucracy and voting patterns, is grotesquely biased against Israel. Every year 20 or more completely one-sided resolutions are passed against Israel, while typically nothing is said about North Korea or Iran or Saudi Arabia or any of the other paragons of human rights and democracy among UN members. Many European countries abstain on such resolutions, thinking it's more trouble than it's worth to oppose them outright. Typically, the US, Canada, Israel and a few Pacific countries oppose such resolutions. Under Howard, Australia did too. This was right in principle and also in our interests. It draws us closer to our best friends and makes some contribution, however small, to moving the UN in the direction of the real world.
The alleged damage to our standing by taking a principled position never really amounted to anything. In the years after Canberra became more explicit in its support of Israel we did not lose a single election at the UN, our trade with the Arab Middle East boomed and more Arab countries opened embassies here.
Nonetheless the bureaucratic dynamic within DFAT tends to be to go along with the international consensus: not to pick an argument unless it directly, and in a sense narrowly, concerns our immediate interests.
Given that we abandoned Israel on some key votes in order to curry favour for our UN Security Council bid, it is likely we will now breach undertakings made to Arab countries. Bad luck. The government has changed. The Coalition was clear in opposition that it would take a more sympathetic line to Israel at the UN. If it did not do this it would be abandoning its core values.
Some of the resolutions where Labor changed Australia's traditional vote have innocuous sounding names but are intensely unfair to Israel and unhelpful to a settlement. Resolution 67/23 on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine unfairly blames Israel for everything while not mentioning any fault by any Palestinian group or authority. Notably it does not call for an end to terrorism, incitement, hatred and so on. In 2006, under Howard, Australia voted against this resolution; last year it abstained.
Resolution 67/24 on Jersualem condemns any Israeli presence in the Old City of Jerusalem at all, a grotesque position. In 2006, Australia abstained; last year, Australia voted in favour. Various resolutions call for the Geneva Convention to apply to Palestinian territories. These resolutions fail to acknowledge that Israel already voluntarily observes its humanitarian provisions, but also imply Israeli war crimes. In 2006, Australia abstained; last year it voted in favour of these resolutions.
Resolution 67/158 seems harmlessly to call for the right of Palestinians to self-determination, but it recognises no similar right for Israelis and is unbalanced on the question of settlements. In 2006 Australia abstained; last year Australia voted in favour.
There are a slew of other resolutions where Australia voted against under Howard and abstained under Labor, or abstained under Howard and voted in favour under Labor. We can expect that if these resolutions come back in their regular form this year, the Abbott government will reverse Labor's voting record.
Australia shouldn't grandstand on the Middle East, where we often have marginal influence. But we should be absolutely clear about our values, and our friends.

23 September 2013

Jews won’t remain silent when Christians are persecuted

Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem: World Jewish Congress president thanks thousands of Christians for their support and love of Israel
Ronald Lauder: Jews won’t remain silent when Christians are persecuted, terrorized or murdered in Arab world
JERUSALEM – The Jewish people is grateful for Christian support to Israel, World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald Lauder told a crowd of 3,000 Evangelical pilgrims from around the world in Jerusalem. Lauder spoke Sunday at a celebration held by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem on the occasion of the Feast of Tabernacles, the largest tourist event in Israel which every year draws thousands of Christians from more than 100 countries. He lamented double standards in the international community toward Israel and said that Jews would not be silent when Christians are being persecuted, terrorized or murdered in the Arab world.

“I will not be silent when Christian churches are burned by fundamentalists throughout the Middle East. I will not be silent when Christian Arabs are murdered only because they are Christians, as happened last week in Syria. I will not be silent about the fact that 450,000 Christians were driven out of Syria just in the past year. I will not be silent when the Christian population of Lebanon is being terrorized. I will not be silent when Christian holy sites are being desecrated in Arab countries,” Lauder told the crowd.

The WJC president opened his speech by saying: “Let me begin with a very direct and heartfelt thank you. Thank you for your steadfast support of Israel and the Jewish people, for your commitment to decency and the values we all cherish, for understanding right from wrong, for standing on the right side of history, for standing with G-d, for standing with us, the Jewish people, for standing here today in Jerusalem, the eternal and undivided capital of Israel.”

Lauder condemned international campaigns singling out Israel for unfair criticism: “How can you explain all the anger and hate heaped on Israel throughout the world? How can you explain the hundreds of resolutions in the United Nations against Israel and not a word about anyone else? How can you explain the long silence about Syria? How can you explain the even longer silence about Iran whose centrifuges are allowed to keep spinning even as they promise to erase Israel from the pages of time?”

The WJC president went on to say: “We will walk down this path together. We will share in each other's joys and each other's trials. We will support each other and protect each other. Why? Because we all come from the same family, we all believe in the same book, in G-d and in the Ten Commandments. We all cherish our children, and we want to live in peace with our neighbors.”

International lawmakers slam Israel boycott

As part of the event, Christian lawmakers from Argentina, Bolivia, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Uruguay, Guatemala, the United Kingdom and the United States were hosted by the Israel Allies Foundation, the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem and the WJC. The 25 parliamentarians and Congressmen endorsed Israel’s right to defend itself against existential threats such as those posed by Iran regime and by chemical weapons in Syria.

In a declaration the lawmakers called the boycott of Israeli persons and goods from the disputed territories in the West Bank and Jerusalem, which was recently endorsed by the European Union, "counterproductive" and said it was harmful to peace negotiations. In addition, they lent their support “to the government of Israel as acting within its rights and obligations to its citizens when it stands resolutely in defense of its sovereign territory.” The conference also endorsed Israel’s position that the Jerusalem should remain undivided.

Ronald S. Lauder hailed the event as an important sign that Israel does not stand alone in the world: “This conference is ample proof that Israel has strong Christian allies in parliaments and governments around the world on which it can rely. The World Jewish Congress will continue to work on broadening this important coalition and increase cooperation with our Christian friends,” he said.
About the World Jewish Congress
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is an international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.

About the Israel Allies Foundation
The Israel Allies Foundation (IAF) is dedicated to the purpose of promoting communication and information sharing between parliamentarians and legislators the world over who share a belief that the State of Israel has the right to exist in peace within secure borders. In 2006 in solidarity with the Knesset Christian allies Caucus, the US House of Representatives formed the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus as the basis for an international caucus network. Since then, additional caucuses have been formed in 22 governments worldwide.

About the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem
The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) was founded in 1980 as an act of comfort and solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people in their claim to Jerusalem. Today, the ICEJ stands at the forefront of a growing mainstream movement of Christians worldwide who share a love and concern for Israel and an understanding of the Biblical significance of the modern ingathering of the Jews to the land of their forefathers.

12 September 2013

ANU asked to explain its conference of unadulterated vilification of Israel

From AIJAC, Sep  12  2013:

On September 4, the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) wrote to the Vice-Chancellor and President of the Australian National University Professor Ian Young AO, to raise concerns regarding the one-sided nature of the "Human Rights in Palestine Conference" that runs from 10-12 September.

The letter, signed by AIJAC Chairman Mark Leibler AC and Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein AM, stated:

"It is evident from the conference website that the conference's principal aim is to engage in unadulterated vilification of Israel and to support the Palestinian 'cause' - not to engage in serious academic debate or inquiry about the current state and future status of the West Bank and Gaza.

Looking at the conference program, there appears to be no attempt to have a balanced speakers' list or offer a variety of views. This calls into question how this can be a genuine academic conference with a free exchange of opinions and a balanced range of invited participants and thus entitled to university funding. It is contrary to the ANU's fine tradition of dispassionate academic integrity and educational excellence to host such a conference.

Many of the keynote speakers are well known for long-standing hostility to Israel. The most notorious example is Richard Falk, who is heavily promoted as a conference drawcard. In recent months, Falk has been widely condemned by such dignitaries as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and by the US, UK and Canadian Governments, for blaming the Boston terrorist attack on the alleged 'American global domination project' and 'Tel Aviv.'...

There appears to have been no attempt whatsoever to invite scholars with a different perspective - such as the dozens of notable experts in international human rights law from Israeli universities."
The letter included a request for the ANU to explain how the conference and the invitation to Mr. Falk came to be endorsed and funded by the ANU.

Also see this previous posting on this subject.

10 September 2013

Israel-bashing seminar does ANU no credit

From: The Australian, September 11, 2013 12:00AM  by: Gerald M. Steinberg:

...the conference on "Human Rights in Palestine", scheduled for the Australian National University today and tomorrow, is a blatant effort to exploit and distort the marketplace of ideas.
Only a few of the advertised speakers have relevant research credentials or peer-reviewed academic publications in the field of human rights. Instead, the program is dominated by opinionated activists associated with and funded by political advocacy groups that exploit the banner of human rights.
For example, "Professor" Hanan Ashrawi, who is featured in the program, is a prominent Palestinian politician and highly visible media spokeswoman. She holds a PhD in medieval and comparative literature.
She achieved notoriety in January 1991, during a US radio interview at the beginning of the Gulf War, when she referred to Saddam Hussein favourably for "standing up for Arab rights, Arab dignity, Arab pride". (Yasser Arafat and the PLO were closely allied with Saddam.) In February 1991, while the Iraqi dictator's troops were looting and burning Kuwait, she praised Saddam's "commitment to peace". And in 1996, she was among the minority of PLO officials who opposed revising the PLO Charter to remove clauses calling for Israel's destruction.
Other speakers are involved with "the Steering Committee for the Gaza Freedom March", the "Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions National Committee", and Electronic Intifada. For example, Ziyaad Lunat has referred to Israel as "the Zionist colonial implant" - not the type of language one would expect at an academic conference on human rights.
Keynote speaker Richard Falk is primarily known as a fringe "9/11 conspiracy theorist", and has been widely denounced, including by the Secretary-General of the UN, for vile comments blaming the Boston terrorist attack on "the American global domination project" and "Tel Aviv".
As noted by the British government's equality and non-discrimination team, Falk's recent writings are "resonant of the longstanding anti-Semitic practice of blaming Jews (through the state of Israel by proxy) for all that is wrong in the world".
In a clumsy attempt to endow the event with some academic credibility, the ANU organisers included the logo of the prestigious British Academy on the website as an indication of co-sponsorship.
When this was brought to their attention, officials replied: "The academy is not organising that event, was not consulted on the program and is not directly sponsoring the event itself. The text that appears on the conference website claiming that the British Academy is a 'platinum sponsor' for the event, is therefore misleading, and appeared without authorisation from us."
Instead of removing the logo, however, the official program website recently added a tiny and misleading caveat underneath. Even if a complete correction were subsequently to be made, the fact the conference organisers made so fundamental an error does not reflect well on the organisers' standards of accuracy.
When shocking atrocities are being committed in Syria against Palestinians, among many others, an academic conference ostensibly dedicated to the entirely legitimate subject of Palestinian human rights should not be focused exclusively on the West Bank. This, and the neglect of other pressing human rights issues in the Middle East, reinforce the impression that the real purpose of the conference is to polemicise against Israel.
It also seems not to have occurred to the organisers that Israelis have human rights too. Any assessment of "Economic, Social, Political and Cultural Rights" in the "Occupied Palestinian Territories" that excludes the central complexities is at best meaningless, at worst sinister.
It is up to the ANU to decide how best to deal with this scholarly farce, which threatens to tarnish its reputation. Even respected universities are not immune from fringe political campaigns or indulging in nonsense.
*Gerald M. Steinberg heads the NGO Monitor research institute.

BESA Conference, 6-8 October 2013: “2020 Vision: Israel’s Perils and Prospects”

Prime Minister Netanyahu to Headline the BESA Center’s Twentieth Anniversary International Conference

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will make his eighth appearance at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, opening the center’s 20th anniversary international conference.
The three-day conference, “2020 Vision: Israel’s Perils and Prospects,” will be held on October 6-8, 2013, at Bar-Ilan University.
Other key speakers include Ministers Steinitz, Erdan, Piron, and Elkin; IDF Chief-of-Staff Gantz; and former security chiefs Arad, Ben-Israel, Eiland, Dayan, Arens, and Dichter.
The conference is open to the public, with the exception of the Prime Minister’s address. Simultaneous Hebrew/English translation will be available at all sessions.
The full program can be seen here in English and Hebrew.
View on Our Website

Prospects for restoring Labor’s commitment to Israel are good

From Isi Leibler,  September 8, 2013:

A Friendlier Australian Government

Australia’s election results are good news for the Israel-Australia relationship.
Labor party incumbent Kevin Rudd, who held office for less than three months following a coup against former PM Julia Gillard, lost in a landslide, bringing an end to six years of Labor Government. Rudd is a political chameleon who abandoned Australia’s long-standing pro-Israel position when he previously served as Prime Minister from 2007 to 2010.

The victorious Tony Abbott of the center-right Liberal party is an outspoken friend of the Jewish State. He has pledged to improve relations with Israel, toughen the government’s approach toward terrorist organizations and end financial support for organizations connected to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign against Israel.

These results therefore represent a sea change in Israel-Australia relations. Before assuming office in 2007, Prime Minister Rudd portrayed himself as a Christian Zionist. But in office, he launched a campaign to downgrade Australia’s relationship toward Israel. He reduced Australian support for Israel at the UN and adopted policies akin to those of hostile European countries.

Julia Gillard, who displaced him in 2010, made efforts to revive the friendly relations with Israel. But after Bob Carr was appointed as Foreign Minister in March 2012, the relationship again began to decline.

Carr, a former State Premier, was a founding member of the parliamentary Labor Friends of Israel and had previously been considered a friend of the Jewish community. However, in 2003, he awarded the Sydney Peace Prize to Palestinian propagandist Hannah Ashrawi, and since then has become increasingly critical, insisting that he understood better than Israelis what was in their best interest.

After visiting Israel in August 2012, Carr intensified the campaign to solicit support for Australia’s UN Security Council candidature by cozying up to Arab governments, even sending a delegation to Iran.

Distancing Australia was obviously crucial to win the Arab vote and he succeeded in compelling Prime Minister Gillard to reverse her decision to vote against accepting the Palestinian Authority as a member state at the UN General Assembly, stating: “I don’t apologize for the fact that Australia has interests in the Arab world. If we had voted no, that would have been a heavy blow to our interests in over 20 countries. The truth is they all see this as a bedrock issue.”

Foreign Minister Carr stunned the Australian Jewish community a few weeks ago when he told Moslems at a Sydney mosque, “I’ve been to Ramallah, I’ve spoken to the Palestinian leadership, and we support their aspirations to have a Palestinian state in the context of a Middle East peace…we say unequivocally, all settlements on Palestinian land are illegal under international law and should cease.”

Australia’s Jewish community leaders condemned the statement and the AIJAC, the Australian Jewish lobby equivalent of AIPAC, accused Carr of having “altered a long-standing bipartisan policy in Australia by repeatedly asserting a contentious and disputed legal claim…which…potentially undermines progress towards a negotiated two state resolution to the conflict.”

Australia’s long-standing friendship with Israel dates back to Australian troops serving in Palestine in both World Wars. From 1948 until recently, both the Labor and Liberal parties consistently allied themselves with the Jewish state (the only major aberration was Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s hostility during the Yom Kippur War).

Both parties also supported broader Jewish concerns. In 1962, Australia became the first country in the world to raise the issue of Soviet Jewry at the UN, condemning anti-Semitism and calling for the right of Jews to emigrate. Successive governments made major global contributions towards ameliorating the plight of Soviet Jews. Australia was directly involved in efforts to rescind the infamous 1975 UN resolution that equated Zionism with racism. It also served as an intermediary for Jewish leaders seeking to promote diplomatic relations between Israel and Asian countries.

Australian Jewry, which numbers approximately 120,000, includes the highest proportion of Holocaust survivors of any diaspora community and is one of the most Zionist Jewish communities in the world. 15,000 Australians – more than 10% of the entire community - have made aliya and strengthen the relationship.

The “Lucky Country” enabled hard working Jewish immigrants, many of whom were penniless Holocaust survivors, to prosper. Whilst a Jewish underclass exists, a number emerged to become the leading commercial and industrial giants in the nation, many of whom were appointed to prominent roles in public life including two Governor Generals. The immigrants created a thriving Jewish cultural and religious community establishing a broad range of Jewish day schools ranging from Chabad to Reform.

Community leaders are united and do not hesitate to confront their government when they consider it biased or guilty of applying a double standard against Israel. The community can take much of the credit for its country’s historic support for Israel.

Traditionally, most Jews tended to support Labor rather than the Liberal party which was originally perceived as being aloof towards Jews and even anti-Semitic. However this has changed in recent years and Jews are more inclined to direct their support according to individual economic and social predilections.

This week’s election is a case in point. Even though Israel was not a major electoral issue, it is believed that because of the government’s hostility toward Israel, Australian Jewish voters went even further than the general public in expressing a broad lack of confidence in Prime Minister Rudd and the Labor leadership.

The community came out strongly for the Liberal party and Tony Abbott, who has been Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives since 2009. Abbott has been a passionate friend of Israel since his first visit to the country as a young man and subsequently as an MP prior to being elected leader of the party. He is a protégé of former Prime Minister John Howard, recognized as having been one of Israel’s greatest champions amongst world statesmen. It is anticipated that the new government headed by Abbot will foster robust support for Israel on par with that of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

It is also ironical that, whereas the former Labor Government abandoned Israel in order to procure Arab support for its candidature to the UN Security Council, the Arabs will have effectively guaranteed the appointment of what will in all likelihood be the most pro-Israel government on the Council.

The Australian Jewish community leaders now face the challenge of restoring Australia’s bi-partisan policy towards Israel.
Jewish organizations, particularly AIJAC, must focus their efforts on restoring ties with Labor leaders. Despite the powerful influence of 500,000 Moslems in a number of key electorates, most Labor MPs retain positive attitudes the Jewish state and the prospects for restoring Labor’s commitment to Israel are good.

09 September 2013

Bookings about to close for JBD/Honest Reporting Israel Mission 2013

After you watch these testimonials by 2012 participants, you won’t hesitate to book for this year’s Mission,
November 18-26 inclusive.
See this itinerary for an idea of what’s in store.

 Mission Cost is $3600
(excluding airfare  - we can recommend an agent)