Jwire – August 10, 2015
Former four-term president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and past Chairman of the Governing Board and Senior Vice President of the World Jewish Congress Isi Leibler addressed a gathering in Sydney co-hosted by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ).
Leibler was also the founder and driving force of the Australian Institute of Jewish Affairs (AIJA), which merged with Australia/Israel Publications to form AIJAC in the 1990s. Leibler is visiting Australia from Jerusalem. He pens a widely read weekly column in the Jerusalem Post and J-Wire. Those attending the gathering including four other current and former Presidents of the ECAJ.
“You have Israel, the one oasis of democracy in the region, demonised like no other,” said Leibler. “That the building of a balcony in East Jerusalem brings about UN resolutions while millions in the neighbourhood are being slaughtered, gives you an indicator of the world we live in,” going on to describe the current climate as “a witch’s brew of antisemitism unparalleled since the 1930s.”
“You have Holocaust inversion in an extraordinarily ugly manner, Jews compared to Nazis, you have Israel being held up as a greater threat to world security than Syria or North Korea.”
Responding to a question about the recent attacks against a West Bank Palestinian family and marchers in Israel’s gay pride parade, Leibler stated:
“The extreme right to extreme left were united in their condemnation and horror of both attacks; you don’t judge a society by its dregs but by how they respond and they responded with horror to these events.”
“Every single country in the world as its monsters,” said Leibler, who went on to discuss prospects for the stalled peace process.
“We have been making concessions… don’t underestimate the pain of a ten-month settlement freeze across the Green Line, with no reciprocity.”
“We would like to see peace with our neighbours but the only way we will have peace with our neighbours is by having a partner who wants peace.”
“I know that Netanyahu tomorrow would jump at a two-state solution if he could… my real sadness is that there’s not a unity government and that’s what is necessary.”
Leibler briefly touched on Israel’s emerging relationships with countries in Asia:
“We’re building up good relations with China… our relationship with India at the moment is extremely important and we are trying to diversify our relationships,” adding, “we need America and I believe we will continue to have the support of the American people.”
Questioned on the recent announcement of a nuclear deal with Iran, Leibler responded:
“It is something which the world will suffer from for half a century or more depending on how much can be undone… there are a lot of people in Iran who believe if they can take out the Jews and go to heaven it will be worthwhile.”
Leibler indicated he had faith in Israel’s ability to weather the challenging circumstances brought on by the agreement, noting, “The Israelis are smart people and I count on them to see it through.”
“Great things are happening in Israel and still will, and I still see Israel as the greatest success story of any one state in the past hundred years,” said Leibler.