Jerusalem a decision too big for Wentworth

The Liberals should stop trying to play identity politics. They’re not very good at it and they should leave that sort of thing to the Labor Party. The race/class/gender/religion card is a dangerous one to play, especially when it comes to foreign policy. There should only ever be on thing that determines Australia’s foreign policy, namely what’s in our national interest.

Make no mistake. The decision of Prime Minister Scott Morrison to consider moving Australia’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is welcome and should be supported. It is a powerful and proud statement of Australia’s support for democracy and freedom in the Middle East. Jerusalem is Israel’s capital city and that is where Australia’s embassy should be located.

It is naive to think that in the short-term it won’t produce some negative repercussions, but it is always in Australia’s long-term national interest to stand with democracies. The fact that if Australia was to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem, it would be one of only a handful of countries to do so is irrelevant. The justice of an issue should not be decided by a vote of the so-called “international community”. The “international community” might have its place, but most of its members are not democracies.

The problem with the government announcing considering moving Australia’s embassy to Jerusalem is not the decision itself. It’s the way the decision was made that’s the problem. It’s the right decision but for all the wrong decisions. On the surface at least, it looks like a decision of politics not principle. Which is a tragedy.

The decision risks forever being portrayed by those opposed to it as motivated by identity politics, as the Liberals face a crucial byelection in a seat whose population is 12.5 per cent Jewish. The decision risks being portrayed as the Liberals appealing to the identity of voters who are Jewish. Whether anyone in Wentworth, Jewish or not will change their vote because of what the government announced is arguable anyway.
Read the article by John Roskam in the Australian Financial Review.