Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong was right to round on Queensland Labor over the absurd anti-Israel resolution passed at last weekend’s state conference. The resolution’s claim of “ethnic cleansing” in the Jewish state was demonstrably ludicrous – it revealed alarming prejudice, or ignorance, or both, on the part of those who supported it. However, Labor’s problems over Israel go far deeper than Queensland’s blinkered and ill-informed Left faction.
The frequently repeated assertion within Labor ranks, notably by former foreign minister Bob Carr, that Israel is an “apartheid” state, is no less wrong. Anyone who experienced apartheid in South Africa knows the claim is false. The “apartheid’’ reference is especially silly at a time when a new coalition that includes a conservative Islamist religious party led by an Arab Israeli MP is preparing to take power in Israel.
It is no sillier, however, than federal Labor’s decision in March to recognise a manifestly non-existent state of Palestine, which has neither internationally defined and accepted borders, nor a centralised government – and none of the other criteria for statehood required by the 1933 Montevideo Convention for the Rights and Duties of States.
Senator Wong is rightly unhappy about the Queensland resolution, but it is in line with the same delusional thinking. It declares Israel – not Hamas terrorists – solely responsible for the latest Gaza conflict, claiming it was “sparked by the forced evictions in Sheikh Jarrah to remove Palestinians from their homes and replace them with Israeli settlers’’.