AIJAC disappointed FM Senator Penny Wong not visiting Israeli communities devastated on October 7
Jan 15, 2024 | AIJAC staff
The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) expressed its disappointment that Foreign Minister Senator Penny Wong won’t be visiting any of the southern Israeli communities devastated in the October 7 Hamas atrocities during her current visit to the country.
AIJAC Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein said, “While we appreciate that Senator Wong is now visiting Israel, and will be speaking to October 7 victims, you need to see the sites of the October 7 pogrom to fully appreciate the appalling magnitude of these barbaric massacres. It would also be a powerful gesture, demonstrating Australian Government support and empathy for the victims, whereas not going there could be interpreted as sending a negative message. So we hope she will review her itinerary and add in a trip to these communities.
“Most other world leaders who have travelled to Israel have visited the communities for these reasons, including British Foreign Secretary David Cameron in November and Shadow Foreign Minister Simon Birmingham in December. These communities are barely an hour’s drive from where Senator Wong will be during her trip, so the claim that there is no time for such a visit seems questionable.
“Also most concerning is Australia’s failure so far to join many of our most important allies – including the US, UK, Canada and Germany – in publicly criticising South Africa’s nonsensical and cynical case in the International Court of Justice alleging Israel is committing genocide in its defensive war against the Hamas terrorists, despite copious evidence Israel is going to great lengths to minimise civilian casualties under very difficult circumstances,” Dr Rubenstein concluded.