Leading article Australia

Two-faced on Israel

9 December 2017

9:00 AM

9 December 2017

9:00 AM

Australia has stood against the more rotten and anti-Semitic resolutions of the United Nations. Now, however, it has distinguished itself by, in the esteemed company of Paraguay, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, South Sudan, Togo and four other beacons of freedom and democracy, by abstaining from voting on – i.e. not opposing – a package of six anti-Semitic General Assembly resolutions which would in effect deny Israel’s right to exist as a viable, defensible state. The resolutions stated that ‘any actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever.’ The only countries voting against the resolution were Israel itself, the US, Canada, and three Pacific micro-States.

While preventing the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a key point of Mahmoud Abbas’s long term strategy of de-legitimising all Israel ‘from the river to the sea’, support for Israel is actually growing, and even some Arab countries are furtively moving towards co-operation with it in the face of threats from Iran and Syria.

Until now Australia has supported Israel against the odds in the UN and has built up a bank of goodwill there, which makes the present failure to support Israel puzzling. Julie Bishop is thought to be a supporter of Israel. However, anti-Semitism is gaining ground in the ALP, particularly, it seems among MPs whose electorates contain a large Muslim vote.

Jerusalem was the capital of the Jewish nation before the Roman Empire, Christianity, or Islam existed. The Western Wall is the last remnant of the Great Temple. Parts of Jerusalem’s walls were built by King Herod the Great.

The fact that Jerusalem was occupied by brute force, first by the Romans and later by the Muslims, then by the Crusaders, then by the Muslims again is irrelevant to the Jewish moral claim to the city and the sites within it. The resolution says in effect that the Jews have no holy places

Further, to deny the Jews’ historic and intimate link with Jerusalem (‘next year in Jerusalem’ was a Jewish toast during the centuries of exile) is also to deny the historic origins of Christianity; saying in effect that the Christian Bible is bunk. It is the historical equivalent of flat-Earthism. The intimate Judeo-Christian connection with Jerusalem is beyond dispute by any sane person.

The resolutions passed 151 to 6 with nine abstentions. Countries not supporting Israel included, disgracefully, Germany (enough said), France (75,000 Jews shipped to extermination camps during World War II) and Britain. The resolution was similar to Jerusalem-related measures passed in recent years by the UN’s cultural body Unesco, which omitted the name Temple Mount and only used the Muslim term for the holy site, Haram al-Sharif.

The General Assembly also passed a resolution condemning Israel’s control over the Golan Heights, despite Israel’s control of the Golan Heights being essential if it is to prevent missiles raining down into Galilee and parts of Northern Israel.

Further, the Assembly passed a resolution calling on the UN to observe an ‘International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People’ annually on Nov. 29 — the anniversary of UN Resolution 181, which called for the creation of a Jewish state in British Mandatory Palestine – a measure plainly aimed at repudiating Resolution 181 and, like the BDS campaign, a step in the process of delegitimising Israel’s right to exist. Other anti-Israel measures passed included resolutions titled ‘Committee on the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people’ and ‘Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine’. If they have no other virtue, the resolutions are at least unambiguous. A true friend of Israel would not abstain.

It is little more than a month since Malcolm Turnbull claimed the relationship between Australia and Israel has never been more profound than now. The PM hailed the two nations’ deep ties and shared values after meeting Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

Mr Turnbull said collaboration between Australia and Israel had deepened over the century and was now at its height. But shared values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law were being tested by ‘militant Islamist terrorism’. ‘It is a threat to Israel, a threat to Australia, a threat to all who value and cherish freedom,’ he said.

Is the sole democracy in the Middle East to be supported or not? The latest vote is not merely critical of Israel but will encourage its enemies and have implications fundamental to its very existence. Australia’s failure to support Israel and the US must have been discussed beforehand at a high level – possibly even at Cabinet level. A phone call to New York from Canberra would have settled the matter.

Did the Prime Minister forget what he had said? Is it just another example of the confusion that has characterised every campaign he has been involved in, or is it all just the mouthings of a man who believes deeply in nothing?

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