03 August 2014

Sydney Solidarity Rally: Australian Parliamentarians support Israel, denounce antisemitic protests

Photo of part of the crowd at the Israel Solidarity Rally in Sydney on 3 August 2014.
 Total final attendance estimated at 10,000 .
Many Christian groups joined with the Jewish community, including an order of nuns , the Sisters of Sion.

Australia’s friendship with Israel is a strong and enduring partnership. It is a partnership that goes back to the founding of modern Israel, when Australia cast the first vote in favour of creating the modern State of Israel in the United Nations.
Today, Australia’s relationship with Israel is built on the same robust foundations that founded our friendship generations ago: shared democratic values and a common commitment to justice and to the rights, liberty and security of our citizens.
It is in this context that we once again affirm our support for the State of Israel to live in peace within secure borders.  And we also affirm our support for Israel to defend its citizens against attacks by a Hamas, a terrorist organization that continues to reject Israel’s very right to exist.
In a statement issued on Thursday this week, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Foreign Minister Tanya Plibersek issued a statement that included the following:
“Labor deplores the abuse of civilian facilities for military purposes, including a Gaza school that was used to hide rockets. 
Hamas must stop firing rockets into Israel - more than 2600 so far, and Israel must restrain its response, which has cost far too many civilian lives.”

All civilized nations deplore the loss of innocent lives. And as the IDF continues to defend Israel against rocket attacks by Hamas, we call on Israel to continue to extend its efforts to avoid civilian casualties in its response.

We also support the right of all peoples to protest policies that they disagree with.  But what we have seen at times over recent weeks, alongside the legitimate protests and the heartfelt concerns of people appalled at the loss of innocent lives, is a resurgence of anti-Semitism.  Around the world synagogues have been attacked, blatantly anti-Semitic messages have been emblazoned on placards and social media sites, and anti-Semitic stereotypes have found their way back into the mainstream media. And here in Australia too, anti-Semitism has been rearing its ugly head.

So while we will always support the right of people to speak their minds, to protest, and to advocate for change, we abhor racism in all its forms, and we do not support a right to anti-Semitic hate speech and bigotry of the kind we have been seeing.

We conclude by reiterating that Labor’s support for Israel has been steadfast since before the modern state was founded.

Our support has also been steadfast throughout the long peace process, which is the only path out of the conflict that in the last month has once again erupted into violence, causing untold suffering on both sides. Specifically, Labor is committed to supporting an enduring and just two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, based on the right of Israel to live in peace within secure borders internationally recognised and agreed by the parties, and reflecting the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to also live in peace and security within their own state.

Thank you.

The Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP
Senator Deborah O’Neill

The Hon Bernie Ripoll MP


At this most difficult time for Israel and international Jewry, my heart goes out to all the families who have had members killed or wounded as we pray for an end to the violence.

Israel as a freedom loving democracy in a sea of instability and antagonism to her, has the right to defend itself against terrorist attacks and protect all its citizens.

Hamas has proven that it is no partner for peace and with it at the helm in Gaza, a necessary negotiated two state solution seems tragically to be a long way away.

I thank all of you here today for Standing Up For Israel

Josh Frydenberg MP
Federal member for Kooyong
Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister