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Gillard – Who is she good for?

September 13, 2010 – 7:19 pm28 Comments

Gillard shaking hands with Netanyahu

By Malki Rose

They say that a nation gets the leader it deserves. And this week not a truer word could have been spoken.

When asked which of the two parties were preferred the answer given seemed unanimous in the media, or at least to journalists. Most Australians said simply, “I trust neither”.

Yet, somehow 14 million Australians went to the polls and somehow were happy to put their
names to a vote that ultimately granted Australia only a single clear winner; Mr Adam Brandt
for the Greens’ new comfy seat of Melbourne.

After two months of campaigning and three weeks of democratic silliness, a woman with a
striking resemblance to Ronald McDonald but not nearly as interested in helping the kids but
in more sensible shoes, stepped for the second, unelected time into the roughly sketched and
shabbily held position of Australian Prime Minister.

I did not vote this election. There was not a single option on the ballot that seemed
reasonable, realistic or responsible. I could not in good conscience come to mark a single
line next to any name. Most people felt that a certain candidate or party reflected ever so
slightly at least one of their own views or socio-economic-geo-political opinions, and so went
with that.

Ultimately most made a decision based on what concerned them as individuals, families, or as a community demographic.

I looked at all the options and wondered how any candidate would have handled the recent
Israeli passport scandal (amongst several other Jewish and Israeli issues).

It was certainly interesting that Mr Abbott called the governments handling of it, “an
overreaction”, but this doesn’t stand to prove that Abbott would have done any differently had
he been in K-Rudd’s shoes.

Would they too have responded with the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat from Canberra In order to garner approval from the wider Australian community and then only days later have held a private dinner in Canberra with select Jewish leaders to also garner approval from the Jewish community?

Is it even possible to appease an anti-Israel sentiment with one hand while simultaneously
appeasing the pro-Israel one?

After meeting with these sixleaders at the Lodge for what was said to be less than average
quality cuisine and a feeble attempt at Australian government-Jewish reconciliation, Rudd left
the meeting ‘moving forward’ with ‘new momentum’ and eager to put the whole messy
business behind him. The Jewish leadership was not as happy. And days later, it would appear that a certain pro-Zionist MP entered Ms Gillard’s office and discussed the notion of
challenging Mr Rudd for leadership, a conversation which led to the now famous coup.

It became apparent almost immediately, that Ms Gillard has significant Israeli interests, with
her partner Mr Mathieson’s involvement in Albert Dadon’s multi-million dollar development
project, and her own interest in the Israeli leadership forum, and Mr Dadon’s fine work with
the AICE. And those interested in Israel’s economic growth can be heard cheering from the
peanut gallery at this point, as it would seem that Ms Gillard, and possibly the ALP, are now
holding steady with the Jews, or with Israel, depending on how you look at things.
After attending a JNF dinner in 2008, Gillard noted that she was sympathetic to Israel’s need
to protect and defend its borders in several media interviews and articles. In June
2009, she attended the Australia-Israel Leadership Forum in Jerusalem, hosted by Mr Albert
Dadon’s AICE in what Ms Gillard called a “celebration of Israeli and Australian culture” where
she spoke of “the strong, deep friendship that runs between our two countries”. In a similar
vein to previous interviews, she then continued to remark on Israel’s right to its
independence and to defend its borders.

Upon her return she spoke on ABC Radio National stating, “I walked away from my conversation with the Israeli prime minister believing there was a real preparedness for a genuine discussion. He genuinely wants to step forward and engage in a discussion about peace.” All looks good. And certainly by her word, Ms Gillard seems for many years to have made all the right sounds and gestures to suggest a strong commitment to Australian-Israeli relations and pro-Jewish causes.

But Rudd was once a fan, in similar style, of such strong Israel-Australian relations, and the
“deep bonds of friendship”.

Until he just wasn’t.

The passport incident remains until now, and probably forever, an event in which the Mossad has neither confirmed nor denied any involvement.

And despite this, Mr Rudd, on Stephen Smith’s most passionate insistence, expelled an
Israeli diplomat, without sufficient evidence that the act had been committed by Israel.

Rudd also made a pre-election promise to, not just to the Australian Jewish Community, but
also to the world, that as Prime Minister he would be seeking to take Iran’s Mahmoud
Ahmedinejad to the International Court of Justice for attempting to incite genocide with his call
to wipe the Jewish People and Israel from the map.

This commitment too was withdrawn when it became unpopular, too hard, or too messy.

The effects of both of these decisions on the Jewish community, and on Australian-Israel
relations remains to be seen.

But as PM, how would Ms Gillard deal with such an issue, would she have done any differently than Rudd?

Is Labor any more pro-Jewish with her on board?

Frankly, it all smells and reads the same, no matter how it is buttered or which leader is
wearing it.

The voting process has become such a disheartening disappointment that it’s all one and the
same joke, but somehow, the Australian people are still taking the time to think in the ballot
booths. Is it six of one, or is it half a dozen of the other?

Whoever runs this vaudevillian government needs to tow the party line … something which
may change from one minute to the next, depending on who is writing the scripts and where
the pressure is coming from.

The question is therefore not whether Ms Gillard is good for the Jews or for Israel, but for
how long?

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