Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd addressed a Jewish fund-raiser amid pro-Palestinian protests.
About 50 protesters demonstrated Tuesday night outside a major United Israel Appeal fund-raiser in Melbourne.
Bearing Palestinian flags and placards with slogans such as “Free Palestine” and “Stop the apartheid wall,” members of Australians for Palestine and other leftist organizations jeered as approximately 1,250 Jews gathered at the Crown Casino for the annual event.
Rudd told the audience inside that he was “a friend of Israel,” a supporter of the UIA’s fund-raising efforts and an advocate of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Last week he introduced a motion in Parliament congratulating Israel on its 60th anniversary.
Rudd, who avoided the protesters by using a side entrance, told the crowd that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called to thank him and the Australian Parliament for the bipartisan motion.
It was the second time within a week that Rudd had addressed a Jewish audience, having spoken at a reception in Canberra last week after the historic parliamentary motion was passed unanimously.