A pro-Israel policy will become electoral poison for Labor

Feb 6, 2024
Waving flag of Israel and Australia.Image:iStock

The Labor and Liberal parties’ blind pro-Israel policy will haunt them in the next federal election.

Australian Labor and Liberal-National Coalition leaders brag about Western values of democracy, liberty, equality, and human rights. Yet, when it comes to Israel, without shame and respect of the public, they abandon their principles and values and find excuses to defend Israel despite its aggression, occupation, racial discrimination, and heinous violations of international law and UN resolutions.

Australians often ask, what do these politicians gain out of their blatant hypocrisy and betrayal of the values they claim to hold other than making fools of themselves and losing their credibility and moral authority?

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, and their party members lined up in parliamentary to condemn in the strongest terms the killing of 1,139 Israelis including 36 children and 71 foreign workers according to the revised Israeli figures, but they did not until now, utter a single word of condemnation of Israel’s cowardly savage revenge, in its war of genocide against 2.3 million defenceless people in Gaza, cutting food, water, medical supplies and fuel and indiscriminately carpet bombing the entire Gaza strip, including hospitals, schools, universities, mosques, churches, banks, bakeries, killing in four months 27,281 Palestinians, including more than 12,345 children and 8,000 women, and the wounding of 70,335 not to mention thousands missing under the rubble.

Is it racism that guides these politicians? Do they believe Jewish blood is more valuable than Palestinian blood? This discrimination is condemnable and not acceptable to all decent Australians.

For two months, Albanese and Foreign Minister Penny Wong, rebuffed demands for a ceasefire, despite hundreds of thousands of Australians demonstrating in all cities, calling on the government to support a ceasefire. When the government belatedly supported a ceasefire, the Liberal National coalition had the audacity to attack it for doing so.

As a signatory to the the Genocide Convention, Australia has an obligation not to be complicit, not to allow propaganda supporting genocide to go forward and to do everything in its power to prevent or stop genocide. That is an absolute obligation.

Accordingly, the Australian government is complicit by gathering and providing intelligence assistance to the Israeli army in their war of genocide through Pine Gap, allowing subtle propaganda justifying Israel’s genocide through speeches in parliament and government-funded public media, and by suspending funding to UNRWA.

The government’s refusal to support the successful South African ICJ submission against Israel’s genocide in Gaza, in the context that it “strongly” supported Ukraine’s ICJ case against Russia, is another black spot on its record.

How do the Australian Government and Opposition justify their political, military and financial support for Ukraine against Russian aggression and occupation to the amount of 910 million dollars of our tax money, and on the other hand, take the opposite stand in supporting Israel’s aggression and occupation of Palestine? This hypocrisy and double standard are obvious to the public, dangerous, and not in Australia’s national interest.

There is no moral or compelling reason for Australia’s pro-Israel policy. The Government cannot justify its biased policy on the grounds of election votes, trade interests, international law, UN resolutions, values, rights, justice or public opinion. All these are in favour of the Palestinian/Arab side and not Israel.

According to the 2021 census, the Jewish community in Australia is less than a hundred thousand (99,956), while the Arab community numbers 476,545 and the Islamic community 813,392; this is more than eight times the number of the Jewish community not to mention the millions of Australians who support Palestinians’ rights.

Data analysis, based on the 2021 General Census, comparing the number of Australian Arabs, Muslims and Jews and their percentages in each federal electoral district, and the number of votes government and opposition candidates in these seats received in the last 2022 federal election showed the vote of the Arabic and or Islamic community can influence which candidate wins in at least 21 federal seats – 15 are held by Labor (11 of them marginals), 5 by the Liberals (4 of them marginals), and one by an independent. In comparison, the Jewish vote can only influence 3 seats, (2 marginals held by independents, and a safe seat by Labor).

Neither Arab, Muslim nor Jewish communities are homogeneous in their voting, although most Arab and Muslim votes tend to lean toward Labor and the Greens.

Therefore, the voting power is on the Arab and Muslim community’s side.

But despite the important weight the community vote represents and can play in changing the balance of power, it has not been given, until now, the attention it deserves by the main political parties, nor are the community’s concerns and ties with the Middle East respected. Muslim and Arab community voters are disillusioned with their MPs and have lost trust in them.

Furthermore, several public opinion surveys showed the majority of Australians are on the side of Palestine and not Israel.

Events have proven that a pro-Israeli policy is not a vote winner. just to give some examples, when I moved the Palestinian mission from Melbourne to Canberra, just before the 1987 federal election, the Israeli lobby was furious and launched a campaign demanding its closure. Thinking this would be a vote winner, the Liberal candidate in the district, Ian Farrow, vigorously adopted the lobby’s call in his election campaign, jumping on the “terrorism” propaganda bandwagon, calling for the closure of the office. On the other hand, the sitting Labor Party member in that seat, John Langmore, rejected their demand.

The election results were very disappointing for the Liberal party and Langmore was returned to office with an increased majority despite an overall swing against the government in other seats. That was the first and last time a candidate used Palestine in an election campaign.

In the last federal election, the Israeli lobby and its devoted ally, Murdoch’s media empire, incited the public against Anthony Albanese and the ALP, which culminated in the Sky News report “uncovering unsavoury dark past” regarding Albanese’s earlier support for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and opposition to Israel’s occupation, and violations. The results were not only an increase in public support to Albanese and the ALP, but also increased support to the Greens who have a strong pro-Palestine policy, and the loss of two zealous pro-Israeli Liberal candidates in Jewish-concentrated seats. This demonstrates that a pro-Israeli policy is not a vote winner.

As for trade, Australia’s trade interest with Arab and Muslim countries far outweighs its trade with Israel. The Arab world is one of Australia’s largest markets.

Moreover, if the issue was looked upon from the standpoint of rights, justice, international law, UN resolutions, and who is the occupier and occupied, it is also on the side of the Palestinians.

So, what justifies the Government and Opposition Coalition’s fanatical support of Israel?

Yes, the Israel lobby can use political donations to buy a pro-Israel policy, but members of our community also donate to political parties, and more importantly have the voting power which at the end of the day counts the most.

However, these donations will not stop because businesspeople have their own vested interests out of these donations.

The difference between the pro-Palestine and the pro-Israel lobby is that while they are lobbying politicians for Australia to support Israeli aggression, occupation, violations, and apartheid, we are calling for Australia to support justice, international law, equality, and peace in the Middle East. This is where Australia’s national interest lies.

It is time Australia bears responsibility for its immoral pro-Israeli policy. What it applied against Russia, and the former racist regime in South Africa must also be applied against Israel’s occupation and apartheid policy.

Labor and the Opposition are living in a twilight zone wholly divorced from the Australian majority on Palestine. They will pay the price in the upcoming elections for their unprincipled biased support for the occupying power Israel, and their failure to condemn its war of genocide in Palestine.

They and their candidates can no longer take the votes of the Arab, and Muslim communities, and millions of other Australians who support Palestinian rights for granted. They will have to earn their votes according to their opposition to Israel’s occupation and apartheid.

Netanyahu’s recent reiteration of rejecting Palestine’s right to exist requires more than ever a clear, effective and principled Australian stand. The failure of Australia and some Western countries to recognise the State of Palestine encourages the extremism of Netanyahu and his ilk.

By joining the 139 countries which recognise Palestine the government will mend its one-sided policy, play a positive role internationally, remedy its relations with its constituents and repair the damage to its credibility. Australia led by the Labor Party played a major role in partitioning Palestine into two states in 1947. Israel was unilaterally declared in violation of UN partition boundaries, and without defining its borders, Australia recognised it. And although Australia recognises the two-state solution, it only recognises one state, Israel, and not the other, Palestine.

In his address to the National Press Club on 25.1.2024, Albanese said, “I support a two-state solution. One of them is called Israel and one is called Palestine. And that is in the interest of Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security.”

There is no justification for Australia not to recognise Palestine.

If the USA or Britain recognise Palestine today, Australia will follow tomorrow, the recognition of the state of Palestine is purely a political decision. It is overdue for Australia to be on the right side of history.

Share and Enjoy !

Subscribe to John Menadue's Newsletter
Subscribe to John Menadue's Newsletter


Thank you for subscribing!