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July 21, 2017 4:37 pm

Indian Pro-Israel Advocates in Australia Counter Former Foreign Minister’s Palestinian Recognition Campaign

avatar by Ben Cohen

Former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr. Photo: File.

As the New South Wales branch of Australia’s Labor Party prepares for its annual conference on July 29-30, a group of Indian pro-Israel advocates are leading efforts to counter a motion urging unconditional recognition of an independent Palestinian state.

After meeting with state and federal Jewish representative bodies, the Indian leaders said “the push from some quarters in Australia for recognition of a Palestinian state other than in the context of a comprehensive peace agreement with Israel may for the most part be well-intended but is fundamentally misconceived. This development threatens to introduce the hatreds and bitterness of foreign conflicts into Australia and damage the peaceful and tolerant fabric of Australian society.”

The group included representatives of the Hindu Council of Australia and the Council of Indian Australians, J-Wire reported.

The statement highlighted “what has thus far been an irreconcilable philosophical and political division between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas,” and concluded that “there is no Palestinian entity which meets the legal and diplomatic criteria of a state.”

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Opposition to the resolution has emerged within the Labor Party too. Labor Parliamentarian Michael Danby, a vocal supporter of Israel, excoriated Bob Carr — a former Australian foreign minister who is the main backer of the resolution — as “gutless” and “yesterday’s man.”

“What about the 7 million people in Tibet that have the Chinese boot on their neck?” Danby said on Sky News Australia. “Where’s Bob Carr in all of this?”

Nationally, Australia’s Labor Party supports a two-state solution as a negotiated outcome between Israel and the Palestinians.

A July 13 editorial in The Australian encouraged Labor to “retain its decades-long moderate stance on Israel.”

“It would be a grave error to fall for Mr Carr’s campaign against the Middle East’s only functioning democracy, where people of all faiths are safe under the law,” the paper argued.


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