+61 3 9272 5644

Responding to Senator Lee Rhiannon

By Emily Gian

On Tuesday, while our friends in Israel were waiting for this auspicious event to begin, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon shared this article on her Facebook page accompanied by her own thoughts which read:

“Today marks the 100 year anniversary of the battle of Beersheba – the battle now glorified as the final light horse charge that turned the battle in WWI.

The dark history that followed that charge has been largely swept under – from the massacre by ANZAC soldiers in Surafend that went unpunished a year after the charge to the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population of the land by the Israeli army 30 years after that.

But the grand re-enactment that is taking place, attended by Prime Minister Turnbull and Opposition leader Bill Shorten, will have no mention of the people who belong to that land – who have since been expelled.

One wonders if any of the Australians participating in this glorification of war will consider what lies behind the wall surrounding Gaza, just beyond the battlefield.” 

Senator Rhiannnon, let’s put aside for a second your spurious claims of ethnic cleansing and indigenous populations which is something of which reputable historians and the sheer fact of the large growth in population of Palestinian Arabs over the relevant time frame will attest to the real truth and to your mischievous false claims of any ongoing ethnic cleansing.

Let’s talk about your suggestion that those in Be’er Sheva consider what is going on beyond the “walls” (well … actually it is a fence) of Gaza.

What really lies beyond the border between Israel and Gaza is a regime which has a written down charter advocating genocide against the Jewish people, one made of the same Muslim Brotherhood cloth that belonged to a spiritual leader who once sat with Hitler and Eichmann and plotted the “final solution” for the Jews.

A regime that uses its own population as human shields and fires missiles indiscriminately from within its own heavily populated civilian areas at other civilian populations on the other side of that border – a double war crime the last time I checked.

A regime that drags “traitors” along the streets tied to the back of motorbikes or throws people from the tops of buildings for daring to have a different view to its own.

A regime that spends millions that could be used for health, education, social services (and the list goes on) to build terror tunnels aimed at killing more Israelis. Some of those tunnels are built under schools funded by UNRWA (one was discovered last week) but that’s a story for another day.

But Senator – you wouldn’t even need to go “beyond the walls” to see those – Israel just found (and destroyed) one of those terror tunnels being dug under the border and stretching into Israeli soil.

I have never seen you condemn any of these things and I suspect you never will.

There are some who hold you accountable for the crimes of Stalin because of your background and past association with the communist movement but, because that was so long ago it would be unfair.

However, by the same token, your use of the occasion of a battle that took place 100 years ago to free the world against an enemy that at the time was (among other things) committing genocide in its own lands and your cynical use of history to condemn our country’s democratic ally which on a daily basis is defending itself against another enemy bent on its destruction and the murder of its people is completely beyond the pale.

Emily Gian is the Media & Advocacy Director for the Zionist Federation of Australia.