Heat on ALP as Jewish leaders demand clarity

Bill Shorten is under renewed pressure to haul anti-Israel Labor MPs into line as an outbreak of pro-Palestinian sentiment within the opposition threatens to disrupt his election campaign.

West Australian Labor MPs Josh Wilson and Sue Lines were revealed to have attacked Israeli security forces and Australia’s own Jewish lobby at Labor Party events in recent months, days after Curtin candidate Melissa Parke quit over similar anti-Israel criticisms.

Jewish leaders yesterday called on the Opposition Leader to ­enforce his support for Israel and stop a tide of pro-Palestinian support within Labor that has been bubbling in recent years.

Labor’s internal debate over ­Israel has divided the party for decades. Deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, a senior left-wing powerbroker, previously described ­Israel as “a rogue state”.

Visiting the Liberal-held marginal outer-Melbourne seat of La Trobe yesterday, Mr Shorten said Mr Wilson and Senator Lines had “reconfirmed” their support for his backing of Israel.

“For the sake of clarity, the ­Israeli ambassador representing the Australian government said they could work with both sides of politics,’’ Mr Shorten said.

“Labor Party policy is very clear, and all my candidates have signed up … we support a two-state solution and the aspirations of the Palestinian people for statehood.’’

Ms Parke, a former Rudd government minister, stood aside from contesting former foreign minister Julie Bishop’s seat last week after saying Israel’s treatment of Palestinians was “worse than apartheid”.

Read the article by Paige Taylor, Richard Ferguson in The Australian.