26 July 2015
Last week Western Australian Labor Senator Joe Bullock took to the opinion page of the Australian, warning that “obsessives”and “cranks” were trying to hijack his party’s Middle East policy. Judging by the results of today’s ALP National Conference, Senator Bullock’s prediction has come to pass.
The so-called ‘compromise’ ALP resolution on Israel-Palestine was the fruit of hallway negotiations that dragged on until the last possible minute. Yet the end product of this inter-factional haggling turned out to be as predicted by Senator Bullock: “reckless, poorly thought-out and frankly foolish.”
Amongst the most pernicious facets of this misbegotten Labor resolution is the moral equivalence that pollutes it to the core. Both explicitly and implicitly this declaration places the jihadi theo-fascists of Hamas on the same plane as the progressive democrats of Israel.
But it gets worse. The resolution contains a blatantly one-sided laundry list of complaints against Israel whilst simultaneously endorsing the “special circumstances of the Palestinian people, their desire for respect”. And with its ex cathedra declaration that Jewish settlements are “illegal”, the ALP veers dangerously close to out-and-out ethnic bigotry with the implicit assertion that any future Palestinian state must be devoid of any Jewish population. In this respect the ALP is echoing the infamous declaration made in 2010 by Mahmoud Abbas that “we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli” within an independent Palestinian state.
And finally this resolution ends with a biased diplomatic threat aimed solely at a single party – Israel. In the event Middle East peace negotiations do not proceed to the ALP’s satisfaction, it declares the intention to consider unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. The whys and wherefores of such diplomatic failure will apparently be irrelevant to the ALP. Even if the breakdown in negotiations is the result of Palestinian recalcitrance – as has often been the case in the past – the Palestinians will nonetheless be rewarded. The perverse incentives that permeate this resolution are mind-boggling in their stupidity. And while the resolution’s statement of opposition to BDS is all well and good, it can hardly counterbalance the broader malignancies in the policy adopted by the ALP.
Founded in 1927, the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) is the national roof body that unites all pro-Israel organizations within the Australian Jewish community. And as such the ZFA would like to express it’s appreciation to all those members of the Australian Labor Party who fought the good fight behind-the-scenes against this ill-advised and ill-conceived resolution. We look forward to working with Israel’s friends on a bi-partisan basis towards the achievement of a Middle East peace agreement that is fair and enduring.
It is tragic that the resolution approved by the 2015 ALP National Conference does injury to that effort.