Bob Carr targets Israel again

May 4, 2021 by Henry Benjamin

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Former NSW Premier and former Minister for Foreign Affairs Bob Carr has sent an email to “to all supporters of Palestine in the Australian Labor Party”.

Bob Carr addresses pro-Palestinian supporters at last year’s Labor NSW conference

The email was sent on the 28th of April and was picked up The Daily Telegraph.

The email reads:

APARTHEID…SETTLEMENT EXPANSION…HUMAN RIGHTS.

To all supporters of Palestine in the Australian Labor Party:

·        Motions to State Conference are due at head office by 4pm July 14.

·        The attached articles provide material that might be relevant in forwarding motions from branches and unions to the conference that deal with Palestine and a two state solution.

·        This is an opportunity to welcome the decision of the National ALP Conference to include in the party platform support for recognition of Palestine, the second party conference to make this commitment.

·        It’s an opportunity also to highlight continued settlement expansion.  The Sydney Morning Herald article attached confirms Israeli authorities approved or advanced construction of more than 12,000 settlement homes in 2020.  Prime Minister Netanyahu approved the construction of 800 new housing units in Jewish settlements in the West Bank just before President Biden’s January inauguration.

·        Human Rights Watch says there is an overarching Israeli government policy to maintain domination by Jewish Israelis and “grave abuses” against Palestinian living in the occupied territories.  (See articles).

·        Australia should support the work of the International Criminal Court in investigating human rights abuses by the Israeli government directed against the occupied Palestinian population.

·        We should note that Human Rights Watch for the first time has used the word Apartheid to describe Israeli persecution of Palestinians with a report saying the country had crossed a vital threshold in this respect.

·        Human Rights Watch has argued that Israeli behaviour fits the legal definition of the term under the Apartheid Convention and Rome Statute.

·        There is a strong case for the next Labor government being urged to work with like-minded countries to discourage further expansion of Israeli settlements by banning trade and financial dealings with settlements and seeing that all settlement products are marked as products of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian lands and not marked as produce of Israel.

·        Carried last night at Kogarah SEC to go to September ALP conference:  Noting the continued spread of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land including 12000 settlement homes in 2020, as a deliberate strategy of the Netanyahu government, Conference calls on the next Labor government to work with the European Union and the like-minded governments to apply bans to products produced in Israeli settlements, any investment or finance associated with settlements, given that all settlements are illegal at law and a barrier to a two State solution.

In friendlier days. Peter Wertheim ECAJ, Danny Lamm ECAJ, Bob Carr, Colin Rubenstein AIJAC, Philip Chester ZFA, Jeremy Jones  AIJAC in 2012

NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel deputy chair and State Labor Shadow Treasurer Walt Secord told J-Wire: “I wholeheartedly support a two-State solution, but I vehemently oppose any moves towards boycotting Israel.

The NSW ALP platform should concentrate on education, health, housing, COVID, reconciliation, the economy, workers and jobs.”

Bob Carr presents The Sydney Prize to Hanan Ashrawi in 2005 Photo: Henry Benjamin

Finally, it is a matter of public record that I was Director of Communications for Mr Carr when he was premier from 1995 to 2005 – but we have different views on foreign policy.”

Arsen Ostrovsky is an international human rights lawyer and Israel Affairs Director for the Zionist Council of New South Wales.

He said: “Bob Carr seems to have a rather unhealthy obsession with Israel, dominated by his irrational hatred of the Jewish state and willingness to be a pawn of the Palestinian propaganda machine.

Israel is a vibrant democracy and an important ally of Australia. It is high time that the Labor Party, both Federal and State, reign Carr in, or otherwise this continued visceral obsession with Israel and unjust singling out of the Jewish state for opprobrium, risks severely harming the traditional bi-partisan support of Israel in Australia and Labor Party’s standing in the Jewish community.”

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies President Lesli Berger commented: “Calling for a boycott contradicts the Labor Party’s longstanding policy of rejecting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel as antisemitic. Party leader Anthony Albanese has described boycotting Israel as `beyond the pale’ and `counter-productive self-indulgence’. And boycotting goods from the West Bank will jeopardise the livelihoods of the approximately 50,000 Palestinians who are employed in Israeli industries on the same pay and conditions as Israeli workers.

It’s also relevant that Human Rights Watch is not a credible organisation on Israel-Palestine matters, and its description of Israel as an apartheid state is a baseless slur which trivialises the evils of the apartheid regime and those who suffered under it.

But perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of this latest push is that it will do nothing to advance a state of Palestine – to which Israel has been committed for three decades. The call for BDS is completely unwarranted, and for good reason is not and should not become part of ALP policy.”

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