Anti-Zionist and pro-Arab groups are opposing an Australian plan to congratulate Israel on its 60th anniversary.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s motion saluting the Jewish state is expected to be seconded Wednesday by opposition leader Brendan Nelson. Some 400 Jewish dignitaries have been invited to parliament for the proceedings by the Israeli Embassy, which initiated the idea.
But opposition to the motion, the text of which has yet to be released, is mounting with a coalition of anti-Zionist and pro-Arab groups planning a media campaign and demonstrations.
In a letter to be published in newspapers Wednesday, opponents to the motion say it is “an affront to our nation’s dignity and self-respect. It is most offensive to the Palestinian community in Australia.”
The letter, a copy of which was obtained by JTA, says the “unprecedented” motion “honors a foreign country’s independence while it is violating the rights of the indigenous people, occupying their land and breaching international law.
“It completely ignores the now well-documented historical record of Israel’s ethnic cleansing that began with the 1948 al-Nakba – the Palestinian catastrophe of dispossession and displacement – and which is continuing to this day.”
Leading the campaign against the motion is the Independent Australian Jewish Voices, Australian Friends of Palestine, Women for Palestine, Australians for Justice and Peace in Palestine and the Palestinian Community Association of Victoria.