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An open letter to Anthony Albanese on his Government's failures

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (image via YouTube)

Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese leads a Government supine in the face of Israeli genocide in Gaza, writes Dr Evan Jones.


I refer to your interview with Sarah Ferguson on the ABC’s 7.30 Report on 2 April.

You speak as if the Israel/Palestine crisis began on 7 October.

You attribute blame for the carnage that follows to Hamas, labelled a terrorist entity.

The preeminent terrorist here is the state of Israel. Israel was born of terrorism (not from any noble act by H. V. Evatt, who helped cover up the crime) and it has been sustained since by terrorism.

What is a caged population to do, deprived of basic amenities, deprived of human rights; indeed of life itself?

Greens Party Senator Mehreen Faruqi is right. Rather than her statement doing her no credit, she has the courage to call a spade a spade. Australia has, on a bipartisan basis, supported Israel’s apartheid state and its relentless atrocities for decades. Australia’s record in UN votes on Israel and Palestine has shown little sign of independence from U.S. and Israeli interests.

You claim, several times, that Israel must be held accountable. Israel has never been held accountable for anything (a rap on the knuckles by the U.S. in the 1956 Suez Canal affair, but representative is Israel’s attempted sinking of the USS Liberty in 1967 and the mass murder of its crew). Successive Israeli leaders know that they have carte blanche.

Israeli forces have just killed the aid worker occupants of a three-car convoy. They have also just obliterated the Al Shifa hospital and killed en masse the personnel on location.

The official line about the aid workers’ killings is a risible lie. The official line about Gaza hospitals, Al Shifa in particular, is a risible lie. (Israel pulled the same lie when bombing Al Shifa in 2008-09.) Israeli officialdom lies as a matter of principle. It has created a gigantic propaganda network to spread the faith (the hasbara). How else to defend the indefensible?

"We have no partner for peace", they say. The reality is that it is the Palestinians who have no partner for peace. The imperative of the "political" Zionists, despite factional infighting, was always to eradicate the presence of the majority non-Jewish indigenous population.

The Nakba was only a partial success towards this end. The current mass murder in Gaza has nothing to do with the pursuit of Hamas operatives (Hamas having been initially fostered by Israel). Rather it is an accelerated pursuit of the long-desired end — prime coastal real estate and offshore gas fields as icing on the cake.

The deprivation of liberties, the murder or expulsion of Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Negev continues apace. Non-Jewish Israelis will be the last to face the onslaught of a mopping-up operation.

Thus, your call for a "two-state" solution to the impasse (to which Australian governments have never demonstrated active commitment) is not merely a furphy but an embarrassment.

Israel will never tolerate a Palestinian state. To raise the impossible prospect as seemingly just around the corner with the non-existent global constellation of pressure is to immerse oneself in charlatanry, to expose oneself to deserved ridicule. Your radical activist student days are from a distant century.

You and successive Labor governments have accommodated the Israel lobby. You read from its scripts. You are its new man. Bob Hawke was the lobby’s and Israel’s exemplary Trojan Horse. And for that, they built a forest in his name (as with all Jewish National Fund projects, all the better to obliterate the Indigenous footprint). You are Hawke’s cut-down progeny. Chris Minns, New South Wales Premier, is also doing a pretty good job for the Israeli cause at state level.

Why did Julia Gillard, as Prime Minister, designate her senior adviser Bruce Wolpe – sometime U.S. Democrat Party apparatchik, sometime contributor to Australian Jewish News – as special liaison with the Jewish community? Key Jewish organisations had not lobbied for it and spokespeople claimed that they already had excellent relations with the Prime Minister and the Labor Government.

Why do Labor governments tolerate "Labor Friends of Israel" within federal and state parliament, formal embodiments of Australian sovereignty? The fake passport affair highlights what Israel thinks of Australian sovereignty. Thus Israel’s Australian friends in high places conveniently obfuscate its character and inhibit ethical action in national and international forums combatting Israeli criminality.

Why do Labor governments tolerate elected representatives taking junkets to Israel and willingly imbibing the Kool-Aid?

Why is your Labor Government tolerating Labor MPs joining the group formed in late 2022 called Australian Parliamentary Friends of International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

This is an outrage. The IHRA definition has nothing to do with enhancing the memory of the Jewish Holocaust (an industry in itself) nor with combatting antisemitism. It is yet another mechanism for preventing criticism of Israel.

The group’s first order of business was to demand of Australian universities that they adopt the IHRA definition. Another Trojan horse undermining Australia’s sovereignty and the integrity of the Australian higher education sector in the bargain.

In particular, it is doubly inappropriate that Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, as the country’s first law officer, diminishes his office’s status by joining the group.

Why did Foreign Minister Penny Wong turn up at the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce on 11 October 2023 and, after bending the knee, propose enhanced two-country interaction "through greater economic engagement and integration"?

Why did your Government suspend UNRWA funding at the drop of a hat without inquiring as to the background to and veracity of Israel’s claims regarding some Gazan UNRWA employees?

UNRWA has kept Gaza liveable in the face of Israel making Gaza unliveable. Even if a handful of UNRWA employees had links with Hamas (administration or military), so what? Look for the root cause of the problem. But take it as an a priori that Israeli authorities lie about everything.

And how could desperate Gazans given visas and subsequently in transit to Australia have their visas cancelled?

You profess to be deeply concerned about "social cohesion" in Australia and that it is "a very difficult time" for the Australian Jewish community. Indeed it is. However, the Australian Jewish community’s concern is on their own account.

The "official" Jewish organisations in Australia, all Zionist in orientation, condone Israel’s criminality and are thus complicit in its crimes. Spokespeople, in particular those from the Australia Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, are given ready access to the Australian media to spread their claims.

Many Australian Jewish faith schools (which benefit from public funding) socialise their charges of tender years into "a love of Israel", complementing family-based upbringing. Illustrious products include Ben Zygier (King David School and Bialik College), who died tragically in an Israeli prison (as the French say, mort pour la Patrie), and Mark Regev (Mount Scopus College), herculean frontman and shameless dissembler regarding Israel’s character.

Australian Jewish individuals and families move to Israel, seemingly ill-informed or indifferent to the ethics and dangers of residency in a country whose institutions are engaged daily in the brutal ethnic cleansing of a subject population, residing close at hand (if behind fences and walls). Where are the travel warnings from the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade? In any case, they are myopic; the promised land is here at home and it’s called Melbourne.

Any danger to the Australian Jewish community comes foremost from the State of Israel itself and the unstinting loyalty of Australian "official" Jewish institutions. Israel is a nation-state across the waves, which has its own imperatives. Australian Jews are Australian. Security for Australian Jewish communities can only be gained by them severing the tribal links that heretofore bind them to a rogue nation-state.

Myriad Australian Jews have pointed out the obvious — to their personal cost. You and your Government studiously ignore the existence of Jewish dissenters and any counsel they might offer.

You earlier claimed a dramatic rise in the incidence of antisemitism in Australia. Certainly, that is the tale trotted out by the usual suspects. But is it so? The Israel lobby, of course, fudges the figures, throwing in any reflections of reactions against Israeli barbarism (and its local cheerleaders).

We don’t know whether there has been a rise in genuine antisemitic incidents. Tackling Israel’s apartheid character, its brutal expression and the impunity it earns in its practices – the root cause – should be the first order of priority. Any genuine antisemitism remaining could be readily discerned and appropriately addressed. 

But to broader matters, which provide background to your Government’s response to the carnage in Gaza.

Your prompt action on attaining office, in freeing the Murugappan family and Bernard Collaery was appropriate. It was common sense and shouldn’t deserve the appellation of courage given to them. The action to have Cheng Lei freed from imprisonment in China was admirable.

But then, courage has been consistently lacking elsewhere. Whistle-blowers (David McBride) continue to be mercilessly pursued. Freedom of Information procedures are as obstructionist as ever.

Your Government’s successive responses to the November 2023 High Court judgment that found indefinite immigration detention illegal plumb the depths of illegitimacy — a gross failure of leadership.

As longtime Canberra observer Jack Waterford wrote on 2 April, it is not even "rational" from a cynical opportunist stance, as Labor can never outflank Peter Dutton’s evil; moreover, previous rusted-on Labor members and voters have deserted you. And the High Court will defeat you again.

Waterford sums it up:

‘Labor’s moral and policy bankruptcy on display.’

Julian Assange continues to be tortured and slowly killed by the forces of this country’s formally greatest allies to whom your Government continues to offer unqualified obeisance. He has been held in Belmarsh in intolerable conditions for five years.

The legal procedures to which Assange has been subject are not a product of 1,000 years of the glorious evolution of the British legal system but a travesty of justice, steeped in corruption, indeed, in illegality. These procedures do not deserve deference but condemnation. You, Penny Wong and others have belatedly claimed that this affair has gone on for too long. Nice words, but without the substance to have an effect.

Instead, you fall into total lockstep with your overlords (Assange’s tormentors) by adopting the lunatic AUKUS venture conceived by the previous Prime Minister, whose incapacities for the role were all-encompassing.

Immediately upon gaining office, you race off to a meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, a plaything for the U.S.’ continued hegemony in the Indo-Pacific. If India shows a modicum of independence, the U.S. has consistently moulded the other three parties as satraps.

Then you race off to the NATO Madrid Summit, utterly irrelevant to Australia’s national interests, playing yet again a small U.S. cog in effectively legitimising NATO’s expansionist thrust.

Subsequently, your Government has incarcerated Daniel Duggan, on flimsy grounds, on the orders of Washington. Your Government has created an Assange-type charade on Australian soil. Shameful and abject.

How can you claim "accountability" from the Israeli Government when its leadership knows that your Government exhibits no independence and is of no consequence?

If the U.S. pulls the plug on Israel and the Australian Israel lobby confronts that it is betting Australian Jewry on the wrong horse, you and your Government might board the rising morality tide while barely lifting a finger.

But neither will happen (albeit the recently established Jewish Council of Australia has created a crack in a previously impenetrable wall) and so you and your Government will remain mired in the bilge.

History will not be kind to your time at the pinnacle of politics.

Dr Evan Jones is a political economist and former academic.

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