07 September 2014

Tony Burke backs the Arab narrative on Israel

From The Australian, 8 September 2014, by Ean Higgins:

Tony Burke

Tony Burke said anyone who supported Israel’s bombing UN compounds in Gaza was ‘on the wrong side of that argument’. Source: News Corp Australia

TONY Burke has ...[said that] Jewish settlements in the West Bank are a ploy to block a two-state solution, and are “trashing” the drinking water of Palestinians.

So trenchant was Mr Burke in his criticism of Israel that he won the praise of Sydney academic Jake Lynch and the acknowledgment of Greens senator Lee Rhiannon, known for their vocal s-upport of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

In a blistering attack on Israel during a keynote address to a pro-Palestinian fundraiser, the senior Labor frontbencher said he, Senator Rhiannon, diplomats from Arab nations and others at the event were “here representing the view of the majority of the world”.

Mr Burke said anyone who supported Israel’s bombing UN compounds in Gaza was “on the wrong side of that argument”.

Mr Burke’s speech in Sydney late last month to the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network, unreported until now, went far beyond his previous comments in support of the Palestinian cause.

Labor’s finance spokesman and manager of opposition business is one of the more outspoken in a group of ALP frontbenchers, including foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek, who lean towards the Palestinian side of the debate, in contrast to Bill Shorten who is robustly pro-Israel.

...Mr Burke’s remarks drew a sharp response from Victorian Labor MP Michael Danby, a supporter of Israel, when The Australian advised him of the speech.

Mr Danby said Mr Burke and former Labor foreign minister Bob Carr, who championed a more pro-Palestinian Australian policy in the UN, “seek to impose ­Munich-style settlements on Israel like the great powers handed down on the Czechs in 1938”.

Mr Danby said Mr Burke and other pro-Palestinian Labor MPs needed to “get a more balanced perspective, especially on the missile attacks (from Gaza’s Hamas organisation) that forced five million Israelis to the air-raid shelters”.

A spokesman for the Opposition Leader reiterated ALP policy on the Middle East but said he declined to endorse Mr Burke’s speech....