FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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.

Weekend Edition
April 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Georgina Downs
Hillsborough and Beyond: Establishment Cover Ups, Lies & Corruption
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
David Yearsley
Miles Davis: Ace of Baseness
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail