Contributed by Jim Hayes
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has touched down in Sydney for a four day visit and is expected to meet opposition throughout the stay.
Although the visit is billed as a business trip, aiming to established new trading opportunities between the two countries, only the most naïve, would fail to realise that below this there is a political agenda.
Israel’s war against the Palestinians, and this is exactly what it should be called, is being stepped up. Physical attacks on Palestinian civilians are mounting, as is the pace of illegal settlements in the occupied territories mounting, backed up by the Israeli military.
The increasingly hardline attitude, is tearing up past agreements has thoroughly isolated Israel from world opinion. Australia remains within the small and dwindling camp of nations prepared to back Israel, no matter what. Not since the days of Australian government support for Apartheid in South Africa, has the Australian government taken such a position. In those days, Israel also supported the apartheid regime.
The visit to Australia cannot be separated from the desire of the Israeli Prime Minister to grab photo shoots with Australian political leaders to show the world that Israel still has friends. Behind the scenes, there will be discussions aimed at securing a tighter political alliance. Netanyahu is the main architect of the current hardline position.
Given this, protests against the Netanyahu visit are justified. This is not merely about giving the man a hard time. Far more important is for Australians to tell the world that we are not part of it. We do not support our government’s appeasement. We are not for the well documented human rights violations against others, based on genetics and the belief of building a racially based state. We believe that all should be treated as equal.
In protesting against the visit and the Israeli form of apartheid being practiced, we know that we are joined by many in the Jewish community. Indeed, one of the highlights in the lead up to the visit has been Jews Muslims and Christians standing together against injustice. A range of prominent Australians have also spoken up.
One great falsehood that must be put to an end is the assertion that all opposition is anti-Jewish. It is not. It is the pro-Israel lobby that tarnishes the Jewish population by means of its own racism, used to justify absolutely everything and wrongly doing this in the name of all Jews.
Video from ABC News