18 July 2018

Perth by-election: Jewish Community Issues

On behalf of the Jewish Community Council of Western Australia, I've written to the following candidates for the forthcoming by-election for the Federal Electorate of Perth as follows.

I'll shortly publish the responses we receive, so that you can see how your candidates stand on these issues.

Candidates for the Perth by-election
Ballot positionCandidate nameParty ballot name
2ARIELLI, NicoleAnimal Justice Party
3GRAYDEN, JimIndependent
4DU PREEZ, WesleyLiberal Democrats
5SCOTT, ColinSustainable Australia
6MULLINGS, BenThe Australian Mental Health Party
7GORMAN, PatrickAustralian Labor Party
8HARFOUCHE, GabrielAustralian People's Party
9COLLINS, PaulIndependent
10PERKS, CarolineThe Greens (WA)
11HAMMOND, AScience Party
12JOUBERT, EllenAustralian Christians
14BRITZA, IanIndependent
15MASON, BarryCitizens Electoral Council


Parliamentary Candidate for the Perth Electorate,

Dear (candidate)

Re: 2018 By-election Questionnaire

As the elected representative of the WA Jewish Community, through our 30+ constituent community organisations, we are pleased to provide the questionnaire appended below, addressing some of the issues that are important to us.

As a candidate for the Perth Electorate, which includes very many members of our community, we invite you to respond with your replies or your comments, which we will disseminate to the community for you. We are most interested in your personal views, as an indicator of your prospective stance within your Party, should the Party policies on these issues be subject to debate within the Party.

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 and a system of payments that incites hatred and motivates terrorism. (Refer to Appendix 2 – Incitement to Terror.) About a third of the Palestinian Authority’s budget is financed by foreign aid. Do you support Australia making its aid to the PA contingent on cessation of such support for terrorism?

There have been calls for unilateral recognition of a “Palestinian” State that does not yet exist. Such moves will prolong the conflict and would be contrary to the interests of all people in the region, above all the Arabs (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.  
·         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; extend its threatening military posture in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere; and remains the greatest state sponsor of global terrorism. The USA has withdrawn from the JCPOA and is apparently moving to declaring a list of verifiable demands for Iran to demonstrate its good faith in the community of nations. (Refer to Appendix 5 – Iran: a Rogue State.)

Will you support a USA-led diplomatic effort to prevent Iran from ever gaining access to nuclear weapons, to desist from terrorism and cease support for foreign terrorists and militias? 

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 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

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 PA 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 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”

Proposals to unilaterally recognise a “Palestinian state” will encourage further Arab terrorism, prolong the conflict, and would be contrary to the interests of all people in the region, above all the Arabs.
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.
Israel’s Arab neighbours, since the late 1800s, have rejected peaceful coexistence with Jewish immigrants to the region seeking self-determination in the ancient Jewish homeland. The first proposal for a “two-state solution” was the 1935 British Peel Commission Report, in response to Arab pogroms and riots in the 1920s and 1930s. The Arabs refused that proposal to share the land then, and have continually refused to do so since then, through to the most recent generous offers of statehood in 2000, 2001 and 2008.
This century of Arab intransigence is apparently motivated by a persistent rejection of Israel's right to exist, and an incalcitrant attempt to destroy the re-established Jewish state by insisting on a "right of return" to Israel, for the uniquely-defined “Palestinian refugees”, which includes not only those who lost their homes in war, but also their millions of descendants, even though they may have never set foot in Israel and are settled elsewhere. 
The Arabs of the region don’t have the fundamental elements of statehood. Its borders are not defined, and it doesn’t have a central government with a monopoly on military force. The government is split between Hamas and the PA.
In Gaza, Hamas brutally seized power in 2005, and holds it by violent intimidation. It is globally recognized as a terrorist entity with an open objective of genocide. Mahmoud Abbas, the purported President of the proposed “Palestinian State” dare not visit Gaza for fear of his life.
In Judea and Samaria, Abbas who rules the Palestinian Authority, is in the 14th year of his 4-year term. While he feigns statesmanship globally, he leads a regime with the same genocidal objectives as that of Hamas.
Rather than negotiating a peaceful resolution to the conflict with Israel, the PA has focused on promoting recognition of their non-existent “state” from as many governments and international organisations as possible. This avoids having to reconcile themselves to living peacefully with a neighbouring Jewish state and making the compromises necessary for genuine peace. Regretfully, some commentators in Australia have fallen for this ploy.
Supporting unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state rewards and encourages the most destructive Arab tactics, to the detriment of the future of all people in the region. People of good will should be urging the Arabs to negotiate in good faith with Israel, and to genuinely accept Israel's right to exist, which is the only way to achieve peace. Rewarding them for inciting hatred and violence, and for refusing to negotiate, only makes peace more distant.

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

Civil wars in Iraq and Syria have fundamentally changed the Islamic Republic of Iran. They have become arenas for a new militant Shi’ite solidarity that has crossed the Arab-Persian divide: Iranian-led, non-Iranian militias, thousands strong, now fight in foreign lands from Yemen to Lebanon. The Islamic Republic now resembles the Soviet Union of 1979: a police state, incapable of reforming itself while drowning in corruption, expanding abroad to protect the pseudo-theocratic, tyrannical regime.
A major point of contention between the U.S. which has now withdrawn from the JCPOA, and Europe (and to a lesser extent Australia), is how to remediate the sunset clauses of the JCPOA, by which critical restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program on expire on a preset schedule.
Recent intelligence gained from a secret Iranian warehouse shows that the scope of Iran’s weaponization program was likely far greater than suspected. It indicates that Iran sought to preserve its ability to weaponize for the indefinite future. This has shattered a core assumption that Tehran would have neither the intention nor the capability to build a nuclear explosive device or affix a nuclear warhead to a delivery vehicle.  Given that the JCPOA sunset clauses would allow Iran to build an industrial-size enrichment program and shrink its breakout time from one year to less than a few weeks, it’s now imperative that the JCPOA is replaced.