Zionist Federation of Australia President Jeremy Leibler welcomed the principled stance taken by the Australian Government at the UN General Assembly.
In a series of General Assembly votes over the past month, Australia has retained the voting pattern it formed last year, shortly after Scott Morrison became prime minister.
“Mr Morrison has stuck to his principles and his word”, said Mr Leibler, “and for that I thank him”.
“The Australian Jewish community—and Israel—would support UN resolutions that sought to build a better relationship between Israelis and Palestinians, and lay the foundations for peace”, he continued. “Sadly, these resolutions do the opposite, and it is right for Australia to reject them.”
Each year, the UN General Assembly adopts 20 resolutions that single out Israel with one-sided language. Australia improved its votes on eight of these resolutions last year, either changing from Yes to Abstain, or from Abstain to No.
“Improving Australia’s votes on eight of the 20 anti-Israel resolutions shows the courage, determination and principles of this government and Mr Morrison. This was one of the reasons he was awarded the Jerusalem Prize last month”, said Mr Leibler.
Mr Leibler awarded the Jerusalem Prize to the prime minister in November, in recognition of the latter’s significant efforts to improve the Australia–Israel relationship. The Jerusalem Prize is awarded each year by the Zionist Federation of Australia, the World Zionist Organisation and the local Zionist council (this year being the Zionist Council of NSW). When presenting the award, Mr Leibler noted the shift in votes under Mr Morrison, as well as Australia’s recognition—at Mr Morrison’s direction—of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In his acceptance speech for the Jerusalem Prize, the prime minister said, “The UN was born out of the horrors of WWII, born out of an ethos of never again. An institution born to do so much good has allowed antisemitism to seep into its deliberations, all under the language of human rights and we are not buying that, my government is not buying that, our government is not buying that.”
One highly insulting resolution, which has yet to be debated this year, labels Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as its capital as ‘null and void’. Jerusalem has been the seat of every Jewish state since antiquity. Last year, Australia voted against this resolution for the first time ever. “We look forward to Australia maintaining its vote on this resolution in the General Assembly”, said Mr Leibler.