The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) welcomes the statements made in the Commonwealth Parliament today by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten marking 70 years of Australia’s diplomatic relations with Israel.
“We welcome both the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader’s warm and heartfelt contributions to mark 70 years of Australia’s diplomatic relationship with Israel,” Colin Rubenstein, AIJAC executive director, said.
“It is heartening that both major parties are such strong supporters of Israel, a partner vibrant, democratic society.
“Our countries may be geographically distant, but we have so much in common.”
Dr Rubenstein noted that “Relations between the two countries are stronger than ever following the Government’s recent announcement that Australia would recognise West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the imminent opening of an Australian defence and trade office in Jerusalem and last month’s signing of an extremely important cyber-security agreement between the countries.
He praised the Prime Minister’s reiteration in Parliament of his strong condemnation of relentless and obsessive anti-Israel and antisemitic activity at the United Nations.
“Prime Minister Morrison was entirely correct in his reflections on the lopsided ‘bias and unfair targeting’ of Israel at the United Nations.
“As he said, Israel, a thriving beacon of democracy in the Middle East with an independent judiciary, has been subject to overwhelmingly more criticism than any other country. As the Prime Minister put it, it is a plain antisemitic agenda masquerading as the language of human rights.
“It is heartening that Australia has recognised this reality – and acted, for example, by amending its voting at the UN, from abstaining to opposing several one-sided anti-Israel resolutions. It is time the rest of the world did the same.”
Dr Rubenstein also praised Mr Shorten’s recapitulation of Labor’s long-standing support for Israel.
“As Mr Shorten correctly noted, Labor icon Doc Evatt played a key role in facilitating the establishment of the modern state of Israel.
“It is heartening that Labor, under Bill Shorten’s leadership, intends to continue its strong support for Israel and to build on the already strong ties between Australia and Israel into the future.”