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.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism:  Transcending the Masters tools
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Chuck Collins
Wall Street Hopes You’ve Forgotten the Crash Already
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Robert Koehler
Costa Rica’s Peace Journey
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
February 23, 2017
Dave Brotherton
Trump, Moral Panics and Resistance
Jonathan Cook
One State: Trump Has Reminded Palestinians What It Was Always About
Bill Quigley
Ten Examples of Direct Resistance to Stop Government Raids
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigot Boy Business: Trump Exposes His Ignorance and Intolerance, Again
John W. Whitehead
The Illusion of Freedom: the Police State Is Alive and Well
Ralph Nader
Restricting People’s Use of Their Courts
David Macaray
Women As Labor Union Organizers
Kathy Kelly
Friendship in Defiance of War
Doug Weir
Why Did the US Use Depleted Uranium Weapons in Syria?
Steve Horn
Former GOP Congressional Staffer Follows Revolving Door, Now Latest Keystone XL Lobbyist
Binoy Kampmark
From Rights to Repentance: Norma McCorvey and Roe v Wade
Thomas Knapp
The Target of the “Border Adjustment Tax” is You
Chris Zinda
Open Letter to Neoliberal Environmentalists
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail