23 June 2016

Jewish Community of WA Election Questionnaire

The Jewish Community Council invited Federal Parliamentary Candidates to respond to a Questionnaire addressing some key issues important to our community, as follows. Responses will be published here in subsequent postings.

13 June 2016

Dear Parliamentary Candidate

Re: 2016 Election Questionnaire
As the elected representative of the WA Jewish Community, through our 30+ constituent community organisations, we are pleased to provide the attached questionnaire addressing many of the issues that are important to us.

We invite you to respond with your replies or your comments, which we will disseminate to the community for you.

We also invite you to discuss any of these issues, by phoning me at your convenience. If you prefer, we’ll be pleased to meet with you.

Your faithfully
Steve Lieblich
Director of Public Affairs, Jewish Community Council of WA...

1.  Safety and Security

The Jewish Community is increasingly concerned about the safety and security of community members and assets. (Refer to Appendix 1 – Jewish Community Security.)

Do you envisage any changes to government support and funding of Jewish-community security? If so, what changes?

2.  Private Schools

Do you envisage making changes to government funding of our Private Schools? If so, what changes?

3.  Religious Freedom

Observance of the Jewish religion and customs include the ritual circumcision (“brit milah”) of male children at the age of 8 days, and observing Jewish dietary laws (eating food that is rabbinically-certified as kosher). Do you envisage making changes to any of the following? If so, what changes?
·         regulation of brit milah
·         regulation of kosher slaughter (“shechita”)
·         regulation of kosher certification

4.  Israel

Our community overwhelmingly supports Zionism as the modern political movement for the self-determination of the Jewish people; and Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.

Do you support those notions?
Do you support the strengthening and enhancement of government-to-government and people-to-people ties between Australians and Israelis at all levels, including trade/economic, academic and cultural ties?

Do you consider Australian-media reporting on Israel to be fair and unbiased? If not, would you take any specific action or make any statements to promote fair, unbiased reporting?  

Arab leaders have created a culture of death that motivates terrorism. (Refer to Appendix 2 – Incitement to Terror.) Do you consider that Australia could make a practical difference, especially considering that about a third of the Palestinian Authority’s budget is financed by foreign aid? 

There have been calls for unilateral recognition of a “Palestinian” State that does not yet exist. (Refer to Appendix 3 – Unilateral Recognition of a “Palestinian State”.) Will you take any action to oppose Australian recognition of such a unilateral declaration?

 5.  Global Antisemitism
There is a global campaign to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist, including a “Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which is aimed at destroying Israel, in the guise of promoting peace between Israel and its neighbours. (Refer to Appendix 4 – The BDS Campaign.) Will you take any action or make any statements to stop this hateful campaign in Australia and globally?


6.  Antisemitism in Australia

Our community has a high degree of concern about the influence, in Australia, of anti-Israel and anti-Zionist movements such as the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign and other forms of de-legitimisation of Israel and the cover they provide for anti-Semites to express their hatred. Do you envisage taking any action in relation to any of the following? If so, what action?
·         Legal protections against promotion of racial hatred and of racially-motivated violence.  
·         Sections 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act.
·         The activities of radical preachers in schools and religious institutions.
·         Public and school education campaigns against violent and/or extremist ideologies.

7.  Relations with Iran

Iran continues to contravene its international obligations and remains the greatest state sponsor of global terrorism. (Refer to Appendix 5 – Iran: a Rogue State.)

Do you envisage making any changes to the following, without prior public consultation?
·         additional diplomatic representation of Iran in Australia
·         further relaxation of sanctions and expansion of trade

Appendix 1 – Jewish Community Security

Security costs include one-off capital costs to harden buildings against potential attacks as well as the recurring operations costs of monitoring systems and guards. The latter in particular are a growing concern and drain on our communal resources.

Our communal dollars are needed for a myriad of worthy causes, such as youth programs, education, aged care and welfare, but we are finding it increasingly difficult to give physical security the priority it requires. We currently receive government funding assistance towards the security costs of Jewish day schools.

Appendix 2 – Incitement to Terror
The latest surge of Arab terror attacks in Israel results 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 pays handsome stipends to terrorists and their families and idolizes terrorists as admirable “martyrs”. Yet the apathy shown by the international community to this death-culture, and the unbalanced manner in which 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 3 – Unilateral Recognition of a “Palestinian State”

Another Arab state formed outside the framework of a peace treaty with Israel will almost certainly be in a de facto state of war with Israel, and a platform for intensified attacks on Israel. Indeed, its legitimacy with the Arabs of the region will be defined by its commitment to the eventual destruction of the Jewish state.

Appendix 4 – The BDS Campaign

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign is a product of the NGO Forum held in parallel to the 2001 UN World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa, which was marked by repeated expressions of naked anti-Semitism and condemned as such. The declaration established the “Durban Strategy”, promoting “a policy of complete and total isolation of Israel, the imposition of comprehensive sanctions and embargoes, [and] the cessation of all links (diplomatic, economic, social, aid, military cooperation and training) between all states and Israel”.

In deliberately drawing a false parallel to South African apartheid and promoting a campaign like that which eventually led to the downfall of that despicable system, the “Durban Strategy” declared that “Israel should be subject to the same kind of attack, leading to the same kind of result.”

Appendix 5 – Iran: a Rogue State

Iran's state media recently reported that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps test-fired several long-range ballistic missiles in contravention of. UN Resolution 2231. In response, the US State Department warned that Washington continues to "aggressively apply our unilateral tools to counter threats from Iran's missile program" and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called for sanctions against Iran.

The US State Department’s June 2016 annual report on global terrorist activity, lists Iran as the top state sponsor of terrorism and said that Iran "remained the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in 2015, providing a range of support, including financial, training, and equipment, to groups around the world." The report also said that Iran was continuing to provide arms and cash to terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Iraqi Shia terrorist groups.
Iran currently maintains an embassy in Canberra.