rudd(erless) alp policy

  1. 4,788 Posts.
    Tanya Plibersek represents the sneaky envious Chucks of the world, and Kevin Rudd is unable to properly answer why she was promoted to the front bench AFTER her anti Israel statements.

    It looks like a reward by the ALP for Plibersek's views and a ruthless grab for the arab anti-US vote. University campuses are awash with Tanyas "Israel is a rogue state" comments.

    Its a shame that Rudd didnt get to speak with Andrew Markus, professor of Jewish civilisation at Monash University (see below)


    Kevin Rudd on the ALP and Israel
    3 November 2004

    Program Transcript

    There are few topics in public and political life as explosive as the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

    Barry Cohen was on the program last week to argue his case that thereÕs rising anti-Semitism in his once-beloved Labor party, a party which he says used to be the natural home for Jewish Australian voters.

    The former Federal Labor Minister told us that while the partyÕs leader was making all the right noises to Jewish audiences, some backbenchers are vilifying Israel.

    Barry Cohen: ItÕs part of a whole set of attitudes thatÕs now been adopted by, increasingly, by the left people, like Tanya Plibersek calling Sharon a war criminal, and Israel a rogue state, you get Julia Irwin and Janice Crozier and Leo McÉthe whole swag of them out there, not just criticising Israel, but vicious attacks upon it. I mean, Israel is the one democracy in the Middle East, where people, including Arabs, have full rights. Next to are neighbours of 300-million people in 22 Arab countries where they have no basic human rights. You never hear those sort of criticisms. In other words, youÕre only looking at the faults of Israel.

    Toni Hassan:: Barry Cohen.
    LaborÕs Foreign Affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd, was asked to respond to what Barry Cohen had to say.

    Kevin Rudd:: IÕm a life-long supporter of the state of Israel, and that has been stated publicly by me on many occasions. If the Australian Labor party, or its leadership had a problem with that sort of approach with Israel, I doubt very much whether I would be its foreign policy spokesman.

    Toni Hassan:: You may not have been personally criticised, but the Federal Member for Sydney, Tanya Plibersek is one who has. Now sheÕs been promoted to the front bench, and I guess has come up for special criticism more so because sheÕs a rising star in your party. SheÕs called Ariel Sharon a war criminal, and Israel a rogue state. Now is that appropriate language?

    Kevin Rudd:: Well Tanya Plibersek, when she made those remarks, was a backbencher, and most recently sheÕs issued a statement indicating that she apologised for any hurt that is caused but sheÕs also emphasised that her criticisms have been in the past, against the Israeli government, not against the state of Israel or against the Israeli people. Furthermore, Tanya in the parliament has also ripped into the human rights record in Iran, sheÕs ripped into, when it wasnÕt really fashionable to do so, the human rights record of the Taliban when they controlled Afghanistan back in 1999. She doesnÕt seem to have been attacked as a result of doing that for being anti-Muslim. I think itÕs important to put all this therefore into a bit of context.

    Toni Hassan:: DidnÕt Tanya Plibersek demonise the Israeli state in a way that George W. Bush did; - several states he labelled rogue after the attacks on September 11th?

    Kevin Rudd:: These are not the views of the Australian Labor Party which I represent in terms of its foreign policy, and I do not support those views.

    Toni Hassan:: Well the ALP may be a broad church, but does it all boil down to a lack of discipline in your party?

    Kevin Rudd:: Well weÕre a party of nearly 100 members in the Federal Parliament if you combine the Members of the House of Representatives and the Members of the Senate. And as a result, it follows that within that large party membership, that youÕre going to have a range of opinions. What matters with any political party, is how you form the formal policy of that party, and where it is entrenched. Now the only authoritative document on that question is the platform of the Australian Labor Party endorsed by its most recent national conference in January. I took that draft platform to the conference, had it endorsed, and for the first time our platform explicitly condemns Palestinian suicide bombing. I donÕt see a lot of attention drawn to that fact by some of our critics, including most recently, Barry Cohen.

    Toni Hassan:: He sways the weight of the comments have changed, and in his view more so because of a younger crowd taking on the ALP leadership, compared to the passionate advocates weÕve seen in the past of Israel, former leaders Bob Hawke for example, recently-elected MPs, he says, are not as aware of the horrors of World War II.
    Kevin Rudd:: Barry Cohen on that question is just plain wrong. Because I fall within the centre of the group which he refers to, and I am passionately pro-Israel. Furthermore, if BarryÕs going to make those sort of remarks, I would think it would be useful for him to actually sit down and have a long conversation with me about our policy towards Israel and the Middle East. In the entire time IÕve been in the parliament, he has not done that on this question. WeÕve had at best fleeting exchanges and greetings in the corridor and thatÕs about it. I would have thought before embarking upon his most recent comments about Labor party policy on Israel, and describing them I think offensively and inaccurately as anti-Semitic, that you would think he would sit down and actually have a talk to me first to see where my headÕs up to on all of this.

    Toni Hassan:: You invited him to do so?

    Kevin Rudd:: Of course, IÕll talk to anyone, including Barry,(what about Tanya, Kevin?) who has made a long-standing and positive contribution to the Australian Labor Party, and I simply say this again: The Australian Labor Party today is a product not just of its history where we, in 1948, played a critical role through then Foreign Minister, Labor Foreign Minister Evatt in bringing about the creation of the State of Israel through EvattÕs work in the United Nations Special Commission on Palestine. But since then have been consistent supporters of the State of Israel and itÕs right to exist, in good times and in bad. And today, we are the party which has the only Jewish Member of Parliament in the person of Michael Danby.

    Toni Hassan:: Are you hearing any real concerns from Members of the Jewish community about LaborÕs position? Is Barry Cohen alone?

    Kevin Rudd:: IÕve been in continuing dialogue with the Jewish community in Australia. From time to time we will as a matter of course, have points of disagreement with the State of Israel on aspects of policy. Not the State of Israel, but the government of Israel, on aspects of foreign policy. ThatÕs just normal, thatÕs what happens in international relations, but where Barry I think gets it fundamentally wrong is to then introduce some sort of racial overplay to that by using the inflammatory word, the wrong word, the offensive word, Ôanti-SemiticÕ.

    Toni Hassan:: Well Barry Cohen does use the word Ôanti-SemitismÕ; he believes itÕs rife in your party. And now if Labor MPs are critical of the actions of Israel, even unreasonably, does that amount to anti-Semitism?

    Kevin Rudd:: I think Barry needs to reflect on his use of the term, I think itÕs very sad that heÕs done that. ItÕs also inaccurate. IÕve already in our discussion today, explained the structure of the Australian Labor Party, nearly 100 members in the parliament. Do you expect all of them to agree on every aspect of policy at any given time? ThatÕs just not realistic. On the conservative side of politics, do we hear much criticism for example of the posture taken by former Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the National Party, Tim Fischer, who was renowned for his pro-Arab views, and his criticism of Israel? I donÕt think we see much criticism of that these days, even though he rose to the office of Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. And I would never accuse Tim Fischer of being faintly anti-Semitic, thatÕs just wrong. But he did have views which were quite supportive of the interests of the Arab States. I think we need a bit of balance and a bit of context in all of this.

    Toni Hassan:: Is Barry on to something when he explains that in the 1950s and Ô60s support for Israel from the left was very strong, but thereÕs been a gradual erosion of support and sympathy because Israel in the 1960s decided not to be a victim, but to arm itself and defend itself, and it won the 1967 war. It moved from being an underdog to a winner, and that may have led to a change of attitude.

    Kevin Rudd: I think these sort of neat, historical "periodisations" of the support for Israel by either the Labor Party or the conservative parties in Australia are quite dangerous. I think if you look at the history of conservative policy in this country towards Israel since 1948, it makes for an interesting read, let me put it in those terms. As for the Labor Party, frankly, I wasnÕt around in the Ô60s, itÕs hard for me to comment. But when it comes to today IÕve got to say that on the question of the fundamental questions of IsraelÕs right to exist, on the deep questions which go to the heart of Israeli foreign policy, IÕve got to say we have an overwhelmingly positive and supportive approach on our side of politics.

    Toni Hassan:: Are you worried at all that the ALP might be losing long-time ALP supporters, not just backers of the ALP but backers with their money as well, from within the Jewish community.

    Kevin Rudd:: I couldnÕt give a damn what happens in terms of a funding base for the ALP or for the Liberal party on foreign policy questions. As soon as we start skewing foreign policy in any particular direction based on the views of various communities within Australia, I think weÕre getting it fundamentally wrong.

    Toni Hassan: Kevin Rudd, thank you for talking to The Religion Report.

    Kevin Rudd:: ItÕs a pleasure to be with you.

    Toni Hassan:: And thatÕs the program for another week. The Religion Report is brought to you with the help of producer Noel Debien and technical producer, John Diamond, or JD.

    IÕm Toni Hassan, thanks for your company the past six weeks. ItÕs been fun. Stephen Crittenden will be here this time next week.

    Guests on this program:

    Kevin Rudd
    Australian Labor Party; Foreign Affairs Spokesman

    Presenter: Toni Hassan
    Producer: Noel de Bien


    Anti-Semitism on the rise, says professor

    By Barney Zwartz
    Religion Editor
    June 15, 2004

    Anti-Semitism is spreading and intensifying, a Jewish conference in Melbourne was told yesterday.

    "It's deeply worrying. The volume has been turned back up again - it's much higher than it was 40 years ago," Andrew Markus, professor of Jewish civilisation at Monash University, told the Limmud Oz conference. "It's also new in terms of geographical location, especially the Muslim world, where it is also intensifying. It wasn't like this 40 years ago.

    "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (a Tsarist forgery detailing Jewish plans for world domination) are being popularised in the Arab world."

    Professor Markus said the solution proposed by radical Islam paralleled totalitarian systems such as Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia, as the Islamic world became educated to hate Jews. He cited an ABC radio news broadcast last week about settlers stealing sheep from a Palestinian.

    "It's extraordinary that this would make the main news. Meanwhile, the really worrying thing today is weapons of mass destruction. Iran may have ballistic missiles, even atomic weapons, and its leaders openly talk genocide, but people focus on the sheep."

    He said that anti-Semitism in Australia had probably reached a plateau, but at a much higher level than before.

    "In universities today you can't have a reasonable discussion because Israel has been written off as a rogue state, and whatever happens to them, they have it coming," Professor Markus said. "Ideologues on the left can't abide complexity - it's black and white. They have to have devils, and the devils today are the Israelis, just as in traditional anti-Semitism the devils were the Jews who were said to drink the blood of children and poison wells."

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