MEDIA RELEASES

Australia/Israel ties will remain strong despite unhelpful decision

May 24, 2010

Media Release

 

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council said that the Australia/Israel friendship is deep and broad and will continue to grow despite the Australian government’s regrettable decision announced today that an Israeli diplomat be withdrawn.

Dr Colin Rubenstein, AIJAC’s Executive Director, said, “While we understand and sympathise with the responsibility of the government to protect the integrity of the Australia passport system, in our view, this response was unhelpful. Australia has already made clear its displeasure over the abuse of Australian passports in the strongest of possible terms, which we believe was adequate to fulfil the government’s responsibilities.”

Dr. Rubenstein continued, “We would note in this regard that, while Australia followed a British precedent in its over-reaction, no similar step has been taken by Ireland, France or Germany, all of whom also allegedly had forged passports implicated in the killing of senior Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.”

AIJAC National Chairman Mark Leibler added, “The claims of the Dubai authorities with respect to this case should not be accepted as necessarily unbiased and neutral, given Dubai’s apparent past tolerance of Mabhouh’s open and dubious activity on behalf of Hamas on Dubai soil.  Therefore, irrespective of who was responsible, describing the killing of Mabhouh as ‘murder’ is questionable and ignores the likelihood that the killing of an active terrorist leader from a violent rejectionist organisation positively saved lives.”

“As Foreign Minister Stephen Smith noted, Australia and Israel have a longstanding friendship and common interests, with the threats of a nuclear-armed Iran and anti-Western terrorism just two of the pressing world concerns which both countries will continue to confront together, despite today’s decision,” Mr Leibler concluded.

For additional information contact Dr. Colin Rubenstein on (03)-9681-6660.

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