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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Is Australia’s Labour Party Slipping off the Left Flank?

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

Is Australia’s Labour Party slipping into the clutches of the Loopy Left?

For most of Australia’s history, the country has been a staunch supporter of Israel on the international stage.  While it is true that Australia has  a vocal, visible minority that is committed to Israel’s destruction in favor Australian Jews and non-Jewish supporters of Israel are quick to point of a dictatorial PLO state, the pro-Palestinian brigades Down Under have never obtained much clout on the mainstream political stage.

To the contrary: For most of Israel’s history, Canberra has consistently shown it is committed to Israel’s security, and to developing political, cultural and economic ties with Jerusalem. Australia was the first UN country to vote in favor of Israeli statehood on November 29, 1947, a move that created close relations between the countries. Since then, both Labour and Liberal administrations have expressed strong support for Israel on the international stage.

This was most in evidence during the 2000s, when Liberal Party officials such as then-Prime Minister John Howard and Labour Party members such as Party Chairman Kim Beasley spoke often and strongly in support of Israel, often offering moral and political support during the darkest hours of the Oslo War.

Australia’s first Jewish member of parliament, Michael Danby, was elected to serve as a member of the Labour Party.

Now, however, it appears that the party has begun reassessing its relationship to the Jewish state. Or, at least, it seems that former party leaders have begun pandering to far-left elements of the Labour constituency: Last week, former Prime Minister Bob Carr lashed out at Australia’s Jewish community, saying the community has been hijacked by “extreme right-wing” elements that are “unhealthy” to Australia’s political discourse.

“I found it very frustrating that we couldn’t issue, for example, a routine expression of concern about the spread of Israeli settlements on the West Bank – great blocks of housing for Israeli citizens going up on land that everyone regards as part of the future Palestinian state if there is to be a two-state solution,” Carr told Australian ABC TV.

Now, another former leader Malcolm Fraser has thrown his support behind Carr’s accusation, and has upped the ante by accusing Israel of deliberately bombing a US frigate during the Six Day War.

Israel Air Force jets and torpedo boats attacked the USS Liberty, a United States Navy research ship, on June 8, 1967, about 50 kilometres north of the Egyptian city of el-Arish. Thirty-four crew members were killed.

But Israeli and American investigations at the time both concluded that the incident was an accident, committed in the fury and confusion of a raging war. Israel paid more than $3.5 million in damages to the families of the victims – more than $22 million in 2014 dollars – and apologised for the incident.

But pro-Palestinian and anti-Semitic groups have maintained their insistence over the years that Israel attacked the Liberty on purpose. Now, they appear to be acceptable to the radical wing of the Labour Party.

Predictably, Australian Jewish leaders reacted quickly and strongly to both comments. Leaders of the Victorian State Zionist Council and Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council condemned the statements, and related that both men had enjoyed positive relations with both Israel and the local Jewish community during their terms in office.

“This is a guy who says we’re too powerful as a Jewish lobby,” said Mark Leibler, national chairman of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council.. “There never has been another case that I can remember that a prime minister or the Australian government has issued a press release calling on us to support a view that they had in relation to Israeli policy.

“This is not the same Malcolm Fraser … It seems he’s developed an antagonism towards the Jewish community and Israel for reasons which are certainly not apparent to me or to anyone else,” Leibler said.

Aussie Jews Demolish BDS

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has ramped up its campaign against the boycott, divestment, sanction movement (BDS) in Australia with an information booklet outlining the history and aims of the BDS movement.

The booklet, which has been distributed to politicians, journalists and public officials lays bare the hypocrisy of the BDS brigades Down Under and summarizes the movement’s activities in Australia.

“It’s important that people know the true facts about BDS,” ECAJ public affairs director Alex Ryvchin told the Australian Jewish News. that the booklet aims to expose the lies behind the anti-Israel movement in Australia. “Their aim is not to build a Palestinian state, it is to destroy the Jewish one.”

The paper said the booklet also explores the links between BDS activities in Australia and anti-Semitism, including Holocaust denial and calls for violence against Jews.

“While denying that it is anti-Semitic, the BDS campaign has consistently failed to address the anti-Semitism its actions attract and encourage, and the anti-Semitism implicit in seeking to deny the Jewish people their right for national self-determination,” the booklet says.
 

Netanyahu Planning to Visit Pro-Israel Australia

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

The wheels have been set in motion for Binyamin Netanyahu become the first Prime Minister to visit Australia, the Australian reported Wednesday.

It said that his diary has been cleared for a week-long visit starting on July 14 in the capital of Canberra and then with business and community leaders in Melbourne and Sydney.

Israel and Australia are interested in promoting economic ties, especially in the areas of information and defense technology.

However, no final decision has yet been made on the trip, and plans could be upset by the constantly changing security situation in and around Israel.

Netanyahu has visited Australia as a diplomat and in 2001 opened Chabad Rabbi Joseph Gutnick’s new synagogue, a replica of Chabad headquarters in Brooklyn.. Kevin Rudd, when he was foreign minister  in 2012  invited Netanyahu  to visit, and the Prime Minister told the Australian in 2012, “In a world where Israel is vilified, castigated, where a beleaguered democracy is defending its very life against radical Islamist forces, we don’t always get credit. We don’t always get fair play. We feel that happens more often than not with Australia.”

Current Foreign minister Julie Bishop angered the Palestinian Authority by questioning claims that expanding Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria violates international laws.

Last year, Bishop told Austria’s representative in the United Nations to withdraw Australia’s support of a resolution for an order to stop ”all Israeli settlement activities in all of the occupied territories.” Joining only eight other countries who abstained in the lopsided anti-Israel vote. Six countries, including the United States and Canada, voted against the resolution.

Former Labor governments in Australia condemned a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria.

Wild Bushfires Drive Some Australian Jews from Their Homes

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Wild bushfires ravaging Australia forced members of the Jewish community to evacuate their homes, some of which already have been destroyed by flames since the fires broke out Wednesday a week ago due to explosives used in army exercises.

David Lake, a traditional Sephardi Jew lost his home in the blaze at the Blue Mountains west of Sydney and was able to flee with almost no possession except a Kiddush cup and a mezuzah.

“All my possessions were incinerated,” Lake said. “It’s difficult and emotionally traumatizing.

“The Kiddush cup was completely blackened but I managed to restore it – it’s still useable,” he added. He said the mezuzah on the archway in front of his door was “still intact,” but others lying in the ashes were totally destroyed.

Lake has been living since Tuesday at a Chabad house in Sydney, which has 40 rooms available, along with a handful of other Jewish evacuees.

Other Jewish groups rallied to help the victims this week.

Our Big Kitchen, a Chabad-run community kitchen in Bondi, staged a cook-a-thon on Tuesday, preparing more than 1,000 meals for distribution to victims and firefighters.

“We pray that God Almighty has mercy and brings a swift end to this terrible catastrophe, comforts the bereaved and heals the wounded,” said Pinchus Feldman, the chief rabbi of Chabad in Sydney.

The Jewish House, a crisis center, is offering psychological help, as well as shelter for those with pets.

“We’re in touch with 25 families,” said the center’s CEO, Rabbi Mendel Kastel. “Most are all packed up and ready to run if they need to.”

Jewish Aid Australia launched an appeal this week. “Like all Australians, the Jewish community is deeply concerned by the devastation left in the fires’ wake,” said Jewish Aid Australia CEO Gary Samowitz.

Bush fires are akin to Australia’s frontline war. In 2009, bushfires killed more than 170 people and destroyed 150 homes in Victoria, the worst blaze in Australian history.

Two people have been killed, the latest being a pilot whose water bomber plane crashed in rugged country on the southern coast of Australia. The crash sparked another fire, one of more than 50 are burning across the state of New South Wales.

More than 200 homes have been destroyed, and one man died from a heart attack while trying to save his home.

Syrian Violence Spills Over to – Australia

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Violence in the Syrian Civil War knows no borders and has spillover as far as away as Australia, where shooting and arson attacks have taken place.

A Melbourne-based nurse visited Syria twice to help with humanitarian efforts on behalf of rebels  and said her husband’s car had been firebombed and their hem shot at, the Australian reported Monday.

The nurse’s brother was killed in the war last year, and her husband’s car carries the emblem of the Syrian Free Army.

James Daoud, an opponent of the rebellion said he also has been threatened. He told the newspaper, “For the last one year we have seen a lot of attacks on the Shia. There have been a lot of attacks on Shia and Alawi businesses. We are also seeing boycotts of business.”

The head of the pro-rebel Australian Syrian Association, Mohammad Al-Hamwi, said he has received more than 23 threats on his mobile phone.

Obama Begins Attack Blitz, Says 24 Nations Back ‘Strong Response’

Monday, September 9th, 2013

The White House announced Monday that more than dozen more countries have formally backed a “strong international response” to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The United States now has the support of 24 countries, not including Israel which has tried to lay low. The list includes an interesting collection of allies, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Italy, Germany, France, Albania, Australia and Denmark.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the horrific chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21st that claimed the lives of so many men, women and children,” the statement says. “The evidence clearly points to the Syrian government being responsible for the attack, which is part of a pattern of chemical weapons use by the regime.”

‘Australia’s Sarah Palin’ Quits Race over Islam Gaffe (Video)

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Stephanie Banister, 27, a candidate for Australia’s anti-immigration One Nation party, dropped out of the election race on Saturday, after an interview in which she referred to Islam as a country.

“I don’t oppose Islam as a country, but I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia,” Banister said in a Wednesday interview to the Seven Network. The interview went viral in short order, endowing Banister with the nickname “Australia’s Sarah Palin.”

She went on to tell the riveted—if somewhat horrified—masses that only two percent of Australians follow the “haram” – referring to the Koran – and then voiced her enthusiastic support for kosher food for Jewish people, because “Jews aren’t under haram. They have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ.”

Bet you didn’t know.

On Saturday, Banister withdrew her candidacy for the September 7 election, which she was contesting for anti-immigration zealot Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party in Queensland.

Party leader Jim Savage insisted the resignation came not over IQ issues and her a lack of familiarity with current events, but because of Islamic persecution: “Due to the threats against Stephanie’s family, herself, her children, the abuse she’s copped and the enormous pressure she’s been put under, Stephanie has decided she wants to withdraw from the candidacy for the seat of Rankin,” Savage said.

Fear of persecution appears to be a running theme in One nation. In 1997, founder Pauline Hanson recorded a video which was to be screened to One Nation members and supporters in the event of her assassination.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/australias-sarah-palin-quits-race-over-islam-gaffe-video/2013/08/11/

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