Australia’s Vote Against Palestine

by BRIAN McKINLAY

The possibility that the Palestinian issue could imperil an Australian Prime Minister’s hold on office would seem remote to many outsiders, but the UNESCO vote for Palestine has a resonance in Australia.

There was widespread criticism in many circles in Australia, when Australia voted “No” with the USA and Israel and their small band of allies. Not too surprising though when one knows the hold the Jewish Lobby and the Israeli Embassy in Canberra exerts on many politicians.

In fact the Arab-Islamic communities are quite large in Australia and may number around 350,000 people, many in western Sydney, and many in marginal seats in the House, where a minority Labor Government holds office by a single vote.

The Jewish community is barely 80,00O in number and mostly in wealthy suburban seats which vote conservative. It has little strategic political power, but it does have wealth and access to many Labor MP’s and a small group of MP’s of Jewish background–in a way not unlike the role of AIPAC in Washington.

So why did Julia Gillard, the Labor PM, direct Australia to vote against Palestinian membership of UNESCO, and soon one fancies, against Palestinian membership of the UN? None of this makes much sense, especially bearing in mind the huge Australian trade with the nations of the Middle East, not to mention the Islamic nations of Indonesia and Malaysia.

Gillard comes from a strand of the Labor Party in Melbourne which has long had links with Israel, and her partner, a hairdresser, had until recently worked for a Jewish millionaire property developer in Melbourne. Last year before becoming PM Gillard went (then as Deputy-PM) on a Jewish-funded delegation to Israel, and ignored all efforts to have her make contacts with Palestinians.

The former Labor PM Rudd, whom Gillard toppled in a party coup, subsequently became Foreign Minister. This was to silence him and keep him occupied after losing the PM’s job, a clever tactic by Gillard but one that has backfired politically.

Rudd was in a way the ideal choice for Foreign Minister–a former diplomat who speaks several language including Mandarin. Rudd was made for the job. His special personal project was to get international support for an Australian bid to get a seat on the UN Security Council in 2012, a feat that would have given Rudd a global forum, a role he craves. In this crusade Rudd has visited scores of countries and given out much largesse (called “aid”) to likely supporter-nations.

All this is now jeopardy, as the 60 or so Islamic states in the UN will note Australia role in this unsavory affair, and will likely vote for Finland or Luxemburg, the other two contenders for the position, much to Rudd’s chagrin. It is being said that Gillard over-ruled Rudd’s decision to abstain from voting, and she insisted that Australia vote for Netanyahu and her other Israeli friends.

Rudd could show his anger by resigning and giving up his seat in the House of Representatives, which would cost the Gillard Government a seat and office.

He is unlikely to do that, but he may act on the many rumors that he is planning a counter-coup against the woman who deprived him of the PM’s job just last year.

As the Palestinian issue continues to be a matter of intense debate, it will be interesting to see if Julia Gillard become a victim of her own markedly Zionist sympathies. It would be a fine example of  the wages of hubris!

Brian McKinlay is an Australian Labor Historian who lives in Melbourne and has written widely on Australian history, notably of the Labor Movement, being the author of a 3- volume documentary history of Australian Labor and trade union and radical groups.

Will Falk moved to the West Coast from Milwaukee, WI where he was a public defender.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
July 28, 2015
Mark Schuller
Humanitarian Occupation of Haiti: 100 Years and Counting
Peter Makhlouf
Israel and Gaza: the BDS Movement One Year After “Protective Edge”
Eric Draitser
China’s NGO Law: Countering Western Soft Power and Subversion
Lawrence Ware
Why the “Black Church” Doesn’t Exist–and Never Has
Paul Craig Roberts - Dave Kranzler
Supply and Demand in the Gold and Silver Futures Markets
Carl Finamore
Landlords Behaving Badly: San Francisco Too Valuable for Poor People*
Michael P. Bradley
Educating About Islam: Problems of Selectivity and Imbalance
Binoy Kampmark
Ransacking Malaysia: the Najib Corruption Dossier
Michael Avender - Medea Benjamin
El Salvador’s Draconian Abortion Laws: a Miscarriage of Justice
Harvey Wasserman
Will Ohio Gov. Kasich’s Anti-Green Resume Kill His Presidential Hopes?
Cesar Chelala
Effect of Greece’s Economic Crisis on Public Health
Mel Gurtov
Netanyahu: An Enemy of Peace
Joseph G. Ramsey
The Limits of Optimism: E.L. Doctorow and the American Left
George Wuerthner
Bark Beetles and Forest Fires: Another Myth Goes Up in Smoke
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, Episode 4, a Bowery Ballroom Blitz
July 27, 2015
Susan Babbitt
Thawing Relations: Cuba’s Deeper (More Challenging) Significance
Howard Lisnoff
Bernie Sanders: Savior or Seducer of the Anti-War Left?
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma’s Profiteers: You Want Us to Pay What for These Meds?
John Halle
On Berniebots and Hillary Hacks, Dean Screams, Swiftboating and Smears
Stephen Lendman
Cleveland Police Attack Black Activists
Patrick Cockburn
Only Iraq’s Clerics Can Defeat ISIS
Ralph Nader
Sending a ‘Citizens Summons’ to Members of Congress
Clancy Sigal
Scratch That Itch: Hillary and The Donald
Colin Todhunter
Working Class War Fodder
Gareth Porter
Obama’s Version of Iran Nuke Deal: a Second False Narrative
Joshua Sperber
What is a President? The CEO of Capitalism
Zoe Konstantopoulou
The Politics of Coercion in Greece
Vacy Vlanza
Without BDS, Palestine is Alone
Laura Finley
Adjunct Professors and Worker’s Rights
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, Episode Three, Where We Thrill Everyone by Playing Like “Utter Bloody Garbage”
Weekend Edition
July 24-26, 2015
Mike Whitney
Picked Out a Coffin Yet? Take Ibuprofen and Die
Henry Giroux
America’s New Brutalism: the Death of Sandra Bland
Rob Urie
Capitalism, Engineered Dependencies and the Eurozone
Michael Lanigan
Lynn’s Story: an Irish Woman in Search of an Abortion
Paul Street
Deleting Crimes at the New York Times: Airbrushing History at the Paper of Record
ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH
Making Sense of the Iran Nuclear Deal: Geopolitical Implications
Andrew Levine
After the Iran Deal: Israel is Down But Far From Out
Uri Avnery
Sheldon’s Stooges: Netanyahu and the King of Vegas
David Swanson
George Clooney Paid by War Profiteers
ANDRE VLTCHEK
They Say Paraguay is in Africa: Mosaic of Horror
Horace G. Campbell
Obama in Kenya: Will He Cater to the Barons or the People?
Michael Welton
Surviving Together: Canadian Public Tradition Under Threat
Rev. William Alberts
American Imperialism’s Military Chaplains
Yorgos Mitralias
Black Days: August 4th,1914 Germany and July 13th, 2015 Greece
Jeffrey R. Wilson
“It Started Like a Guilty Thing”: the Beginning of Hamlet and the Beginning of Modern Politics