Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Australia’s Vote Against Palestine


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.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Sheldon Richman
Come and See the Anarchy Inherent in the System
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Joseph Natoli
Seething Anger in the Post-2016 Election Season
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017
Ron Jacobs
A Theory of Despair?
Gilbert Mercier
Globalist Clinton: Clear and Present Danger to World Peace
James A Haught
Many Struggles Won Religious Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Dear Fellow Gen Xers: Let’s Step Aside for the Millennials
Uri Avnery
The Peres Funeral Ruckus
Tom Clifford
Duterte’s Gambit: the Philippines’s Pivot to China
Reyes Mata III
Scaling Camelot’s Walls: an Essay Regarding Donald Trump
Raouf Halaby
Away from the Fray: From Election Frenzy to an Interlude in Paradise
James McEnteer
Art of the Feel
David Yearsley
Trump and Hitchcock in the Age of Conspiracies
Charles R. Larson
Review: Sjón’s “Moonstone: the Boy Who Never Was”