The government’s plans to address foreign influence in Australian life provide an opportunity for the first time to define the level of Israeli activity designed to influence the making of our foreign policy. George Brandis didn’t plan this. But it is likely to be an outcome.

The Israel lobby in Australia boasts about its influence on Australian Middle East policy. It congratulates itself on its success. Now it will be required to register. This is a good thing.

Australian companies and businessmen, some of whom are both Israeli and Australian nationals, finance the Israeli-linked lobby groups.  These include the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) and the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA).  They also donate money to both Labor and Liberal parties.

The Sydney Morning Herald revealed on 24.11.2012 that AIJAC through its “Rambam program” has sponsored free trips to Israel of “… more than 400 political leaders – including Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott – party advisers, public servants and university students. A separate trip is also run for journalists…”

As far back as 9.8.1985, Mr Mark Leibler, as president of the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) said in the Australian Jewish News “We are generally improving our areas of influence. … and our directors interact fairly regularly with politicians, editors and journalists on a national scale and are in contact with officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs. [The Zionist] Federation works in close cooperation with the Israel Embassy in Canberra. We ought to be, and are the leading force in the community on matters of Israel and Zionism.”

Sam Lipski wrote about lobbying for Israel in an article in Australian Jewish News on August 13, 1993.  He confirmed the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) and ZFA were linked with the Israeli government and work on its behalf. He wrote “More or less since the 1982 Lebanon War, the ECAJ and the ZFA allowed, and the Likud government encouraged, a blurring of the roles between the ECAJ/ZFA and the Israeli Embassy. These two bodies became quasi-diplomatic agencies, often filling the vacuum created by an undermanned and remote Israel embassy.”

Read the full article at John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations

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