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Australian Prime Minister Warns of Soviet Expansionist Policy, Particularly in the Middle East

September 4, 1980
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser of Australia, addressing the B’nai B’rith’s 13th international convention here after receiving its President’s Medal for Humanitarianism, called for the preservation of democracy and strengthening of Western Europe’s support of the United States against Soviet expansionism, “particularity” in the Middle East.

“The Soviet Union’s combination of nuclear parity with the West and conventional military superiority make it tempting for it to use the latter in the Middle East,” Fraser said. “If it does so the possibility of a spill-back of conflict into Europe will be very great.”

While he did not specifically mention Israel in the course of his approximately 5000-word speech, he spoke of “disturbing signs of neutralist sentiments in some European countries” and warned the Western alliance’s survival depends on being “consonant” against “the kinds of threats which its members face today.” He said “high priority should be given to the whole question of the protection of shared Western interests beyond the geographical territory of the NATO members.”

Fraser disagreed with the view that “concern with humanitarian issues should be kept separate from political and strategic matters, that they are somehow incompatible.” While sympathizing with “the impulses behind that view,” he said that “at the level of practical policy” that view is “profoundly mistaken.” He added, “All our experience denies it “in particular the experience of the Jewish people in this century emphatically denies it.”


Fraser spoke out against the drive by Arab and Communist states and their allies to have the world see Zionism as “racist,” saying “Australia is fully committed to opposing racialism.” Fraser added:

“We are also concerned to oppose the debasement of anti-racialism which some seek to exploit in a self-serving way by attaching the label of racialism to anything they oppose. To be more specific, my government has apposed and will continue to appose attempts to characterize Zionism as racialist, even when this involves us being in a very small minority as for as UN voting is concerned. Racialism is too vile and serious a matter to be misused and subordinated to other issues in this way.”

Fraser, who received three standing ovation from the 1400 delegates and guests at the glittering Washington Sheraton Hotel, made the 10,000 mile trip to Washington from Canberra safely to receive the B’nai B’rith award. He arrived here Monday and left yesterday for New Delhi for a regional British Commonwealth conference there. While in Washington, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency was informed, he had no other appointments at meetings with U.S. officials.

Among those on the dais with him were Australian Foreign Minister and Lady Andrew Peacock, Israeli Ambassador Ephraim Evron. Australian Ambassador Nicholas Parkinson, and Secretary of Commerce Philip Klutznick, an honorary president of B’nai B’rith. The State Department was represented by Ginger Lew, a San Francisco lawyer who assumed duties 10 days ago as, an Assistant Secretary of State.


The award was presented to Fraser by Jack Spitzer, B’nai B’rith’s president, who lauded Fraser’s support for Soviet Jewry and Israel. “He is absolutely committed to Israel with secure and recognized borders,” Spitzer said. “He has backed up those words in a way other supposed friends of Israel have failed to do.” He noted that Fraser “opposes Israel giving up territory unilaterally without a peace agreement.”

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