On the ABC TV panel show, “Q & A” (22/8), the conversation turned from Israel, to whether an Islamic country could achieve sufficient separation of church and state to become a true democracy. When the question was put to Labor Senator Doug Cameron, he replied, “Look, I think the issue of Israel and Palestine is huge in terms of trying to get world peace. I think Israel have had a massive amount of support from the world community over the years to establish the Israeli state but with that, I think, comes responsibility. And I don’t think it’s a beacon of democracy to have Operation Cast Lead. I don’t think it is a beacon of democracy to use phosphorous bombs on kids. I don’t think it is a beacon of democracy to be demolishing infrastructure in Palestine. So I just think we’ve got to get a bit of balance in this.” It appears Cameron was so eager to attack Israel, he didn’t care that it was irrelevant to the question.
This is a Moderate?
Reviewing a book by J-Street founder Jeremy Ben-Ami in the Australian Financial Review (19/8), Sari Nusseibeh, generally regarded as a Palestinian moderate, seemed to suggest it might be time to “start considering alternatives such as a closely linked federation or a one state solution,” in effect replacing the world’s sole Jewish state with yet another Arab state. He concludes that “Given the recent rapprochement between Fatah and Hamas, and the radical changes in the Arab world, there has never been a moment in the history of the conflict when the Arab side has been more ready for a settlement – and the Israelis less willing to agree to one.”
This is easily disproved both by many opinion polls and the political facts. While Israel is urging the Palestinians to negotiate, and has again indicated it accepts the principle of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines, the Palestinian Authority is steadfastly refusing to even negotiate. Instead, it is intending to take the confrontational step of unilaterally seek independence at the UN, in contravention of all the relevant Security Council resolutions, and the Oslo Accords under which the PA was established.
An editorial in the Australian (19/8) urging that Australia boycott the Durban III conference (which our government has now done), noted that the first two “degenerated into anti-Western, anti-Semitic hatefests, tarnishing what little credibility the UN had managed retain. The initial conference in South Africa in 2001 produced a declaration falsely branding Israel a racist apartheid state…If members were serious [about the stated aim of combating racism] they would start by renouncing the anti-Semitism that pervaded the first two conferences.”
In the Australian Financial Review (22/8) Michael Baume noted Durban I “ended up as a discriminatory, xenophobic, anti-Israel propaganda circus. Israel, the only democratic nation in its region, was singled out as a racist apartheid state by a collection of largely undemocratic authoritarian regimes with dreadful human rights records, none of which were admonished in any conference declaration.”