Australia pol chides gov’t. on Israel stance


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — An Australia lawmaker assailed the government for abandoning Israel in the United Nations.

Deputy opposition leader Julie Bishop In Federal Parliament on Nov. 19 accused Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Labor government of “overturning Australia’s longstanding bipartisan policy of refusing to support one-sided resolutions against Israel” in an attempt to win a seat on the Security Council.

Her remarks come on the heels of the government’s Nov. 12 decision to support a resolution in the U.N.’s Third Committee on the right of the Palestinians to self-determination, which Bishop described as “inflammatory and counterproductive” because it made “no reference to the right of the State of Israel to exist.”

Jewish leaders wrote letters last week to Rudd and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith saying they were "disappointed" by Australia’s decision.

Bishop said in her Parliament address that “It has not been the traditional practice of Australian governments to adopt or endorse some of the one-sided resolutions against Israel that now come before the United Nations. This government has now voted in favor of three of these resolutions.”

She speculated that the votes are related to Rudd’s “personal crusade” to secure a seat on the U.N. Security Council.

“It is a slippery slope,” Bishop said. “If some principles are compromised, where will this government stop?”

Bishop’s Liberal Party was one of Israel’s staunchest allies at the United Nations during its reign under John Howard from 1996 to 2007.

Recommended from JTA