For a Free, Unoccupied Palestine

Boycott Israeli apartheid now – governments eventually submitted to the will of their peoples to end support of the apartheid South African regime. Let’s make them do the right thing again for the occupied people of Palestine.

Julia Gillard and those who accompany her on their current cuddle-up tour of the usurping, apartheid Israeli pseudo-state should be ashamed of themselves.

As Joseph Wakin comments in the Canberra Times:

The answer may lie in the clinking of champagne glasses at the gala dinner to be held at Jerusalem’s prestigious King David Hotel. After our delegation attends the Australia Israel Leadership Forum on June 25-26, there will be a festive celebration that showcases Australia’s finest music, films and food. While nationalistic art is appreciated and applauded, while Australians and Israelis dance and dine, Semitic cousins on the other side of the apartheid wall in the West Bank and Gaza continue their diet under constant checkpoints. Like a movie scene, this is hauntingly familiar.

The forum is not intended to explore differences of opinion, but to exchange commonalities between the two countries, such as educational programs, climate change and water management. A true friend would not shy away from telling the truth. This is in line with Obama’s landmark speech in Cairo: ”As the Holy Koran tells us, be conscious of God and speak always the truth.”

Imagine if Gillard, in the spirit of cultural exchange, tells her counterpart about Australia’s own landmark sorry speech and the annual Sorry Day on May 26. Imagine if she reciprocated her statement that Israel is a country with much to teach us. Imagine her own speech: ”G’Day, Shalom, Salaam, Israel. As an honest friend, who cares for your future, and understands the crossroads and the consequences, I must share with you the profound and positive effect of our public apology to our own indigenous people. This is something I urge you to adopt for your own indigenous people, whose plight and narrative has undeniable commonalties with ours. As our Prime Minister stated, step one is bring home the facts the cold, confronting, uncomfortable truth facing it, dealing with it, moving on from it.”

After all, this is what democracies do: listen to the majority opinion, not acquiesce to the loudest sounds.

On the Insiders, Gillard states:

In the Australian community there’s obviously a debate, a very real debate about matters in the Middle East and so I suppose a politician’s visit, whether it’s me or whether it’s Peter Costello or anybody else, a politician’s visit is going to be remarked upon.

Of course the policy position of the Rudd Labor Government, the policy position of the Labor Party, has been well known for a long period of time. We are strong friends and supporters of Israel. We are also strong supporters of a two state solution with secure borders to recognise the needs and aspirations of the Palestinian people. That will be my message in Israel. It’s been my message at home and of course there’s been developments in the Middle East peace process of significance, particularly with President Osama’s speech in Cairo and I expect that, amongst other things, to be the subject of discussion at the Australia Israel Dialogue.

Some ALP representatives are not impressed. Federal MP for Fowler, Ms Julia Irwin says:

When leaders and academics are distancing themselves from Israel following its attacks on Lebanon and Gaza, Australian politicians are taking part in this public relations exercise.

Please take some time to ring your Federal Member, ask how they feel about Israeli apartheid, the horrendous three year siege of the people of Gaza, 42 year occupation and 61 year dispossession of the Palestinian people. Let them know about the international and local movements for boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel. Enquire about how much electoral campaign funding they receive from supporters of Israeli apartheid.