AIJAC National Chairman Mark Leibler: Account of June 2010 Rudd meeting in Fairfax papers “completely false”

Media Release


AIJAC National Chairman Mark Leibler has stated he was “surprised and shocked” at the account in the story by Latika Bourke on the Fairfax newspaper website about former PM Kevin Rudd’s forthcoming memoirs (“Israel forged Australian passports before, Kevin Rudd reveals in new book”, Oct. 19) of a meeting that was held in Canberra on June 3, 2010 and his role in it.

“I have consulted both my contemporaneous notes and my memory, and, while I have not yet seen Rudd’s memoir, I can say categorically the account of that meeting in the published story is completely false, virtually from top to bottom.” Leibler said.

Leibler said he did attend such a meeting, together with Rudd, Foreign Minister Steven Smith, Mark Dreyfus and around ten other people, to discuss the Australian reaction to the “Mossad passports affairs”, where it was alleged forged Australian passports were used to travel to Dubai to assassinate a senior Hamas official.

“However,” he added, “it is absolutely not true that, at that meeting, I ‘went off’ my head; got angry; ‘excused’ the abuse of Australian passports as ‘the work of those involved in the ugly world of intelligence;’ said ‘I don’t believe you’ when Rudd alleged there had been an earlier incident of alleged Australian passport misuse by Israel; or in any way ‘menaced’ the government, as alleged in the story.

“And the threatening quote attributed to me about Julia Gillard in the article, used to imply that I or some mythical pro-Israel conspiracy somehow had a role in Ms. Gillard’s success in overthrowing Mr. Rudd in the party room a few weeks later, is a complete and total fabrication,” Leibler went on to say.

“There was exactly one reference to Julia Gillard during the meeting. It was in my introduction, where I praised aspects of the government’s record and noted how Gillard as acting Prime Minister had made statements very understanding of Israel’s security concerns during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009. Rudd interrupted, somewhat defensively, saying Gillard’s stance supporting Israel’s position had been discussed with him beforehand. I responded with words along the lines of ‘Don’t be so sensitive’ and said the Jewish community had assumed as much,” Leibler stated. “Nothing even approximating the threat quoted in the article was said by me or anyone else.”

Leibler concluded: “When the June 3 meeting ended, I actually privately assured Rudd that I shared many of the government’s concerns about the Israeli misuse of Australian passports and would be expressing my concerns to the Israeli government directly which I did in fact do.

“I learned about Gillard’s subsequent party room move against Rudd through the media on the night before it happened, like the rest of Australia. I am shocked and disappointed that completely false accounts of the meeting are now being used to prop up far-fetched conspiracy theories by a former Prime Minister.”

For additional information contact Mark Leibler on (03)-9229-9999.