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ZFA Statement on QLD Labor state conference

The Zionist Federation of Australia was deeply disappointed by QLD Labor’s one-sided resolution. The resolution reflects at best, a failure to understand recent events and at worst, a determination on QLD Labor’s part to adopt Hamas talking points.

The resolution contained several factual errors and mistruths. On Sheikh Jarrah, the resolution misrepresents a decades-long, highly complex legal process, with legitimate rights and grievances on both sides. In an effort to falsely paint Israel as an aggressor, it omits that Palestinian rioters on the Temple Mount had stockpiled weapons in al-Aqsa Mosque, and were using it as a base to attack Jewish civilians and Israeli police. Use of terms like annexation, ethnic cleansing, expansion, burning of land and more – all of which are blatantly false accusations – is not designed to be productive, but rather to inculcate a hatred of Israel.

“QLD Labor is doing the ALP and the Palestinian people a gross disservice by propagating these falsehoods”, said ZFA President Jeremy Leibler. “Australia has a role to play in helping Israel and the Palestinians resolve the conflict, but that role will only be constructive if Australia is an honest broker. By peddling lies like ethnic cleansing and the other furphies in the resolution, QLD Labor are sowing doubt among the Australian public as to whether Labor could act honestly in this role, and this does a disservice to the many in Labor who genuinely want Israelis and Palestinians to build a peaceful future together, not at the expense of each other.”

“The fact that QLD Labor failed to make any reference to Hamas rocket attacks or express any concern for the wellbeing of Israeli citizens (Arab or Jewish), combined with the factual inaccuracies in the statement, should cause any fair minded observer to question what sort of productive contribution the QLD division is capable of making to the issue,” said Mr Leibler.

Federal Labor’s foreign affairs spokesperson condemned Hamas rockets in her statement on the violence, but this was ignored by QLD Labor.

“If QLD Labor genuinely want to help the Palestinians”, concluded Mr Leibler, “they should learn about the situation, not merely parrot the talking points disseminated by Hamas – a designated terrorist organisation.”

The Australian quoted Senator Penny Wong as saying “It will take leaders recognising their respective roles in the cycle of escalation and conflict – and returning to meaningful ­dialogue and negotiation – for a just and enduring peace to be achieved.”

In response to Wong’s helpful statement, Jeremy Leibler said,

“We welcome Penny Wong’s condemnation of the biased and factually incorrect resolution passed by the Queensland Labor party. Penny Wong is absolutely right that a blinkered view of the conflict ‘will not advance the cause of peace’.”

“Senator Wong also condemned the Hamas rocket fire into Israel during last month’s Hamas–Israel violence, when many other Labor MPs failed to do so. She also reaffirmed Labor’s support for the IHRA working definition of antisemitism at the ZFA Biennial Conference last November. This is especially important given the dramatic rise in antisemitism we have seen in Australia and around the world in the wake of the recent Hamas–Israel violence.”

“That said, we remain concerned that the national Labor conference called for the next Labor government to reward Palestinians for refusing to negotiate with Israel by unilaterally recognising Palestine. The ZFA believes that a viable two-state outcome will only be achieved as a result of negotiations and is confident that the next Labor government will maintain the bipartisan consensus on this issue.”

Text of resolution

This State Conference notes and congratulates the Federal ALP for re-affirming the 2018 National Conference resolution towards the recognition of Palestine:

  • Condemns the current violence and incitement in Jerusalem which was sparked by:
  • the forced evictions in Sheik Jarrah to remove Palestinians from their homes and replace them with Israeli settlers,
  • the shooting and tear gassing of worshippers in the Al Aqsa mosque.

Condemns the ongoing Israeli annexation by stealth of Palestinian land, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians through the expansion of illegal settlements, home demolitions, evictions, burning of land, crops and olive groves in the occupied Palestinian territories in contravention of international humanitarian law;

Recognises the routine oppression and dehumanisation of Palestinian people denying their dignity and rights to self-determination condemning them to live under perpetual Israeli occupation;

Urges the federal parliamentary caucus and party as a whole to continue to speak out about the systematic injustices meted out to the Palestinian people;

Calls on the Australian Government to strongly advocate for the cessation of hostilities and the end to all violence; and

Calls on a future Labor government to assist with the peacemaking efforts.