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Bob Carr: Foreign Policy Subcontracted to Jews and Pessach Break

April 10, 2014 – 12:59 pm15 Comments

From the editor:

bob carr1We publish a selection of excerpts and links to today’s revelations.

From The Sydney Morning Herald:
“Former foreign minister Bob Carr has published private text messages between himself and Julia Gillard to reveal the “extraordinary” level of influence the pro-Israel lobby had on the former prime minister’s office.

In a remarkable disclosure of private conversations, Mr Carr said he chose to publish the text messages in his book – Diary of a Foreign Minister – without getting Ms Gillard’s permission, because to do so was in the national interest.

He also describes Israel’s former ambassador as “cunning” and reveals his fights with the self-described pro-Israel “falafel faction” in Labor’s caucus that includes Jewish MPs Mark Dreyfus and Michael Danby.”

From The Guardian:
“Former foreign minister Bob Carr has suggested Julia Gillard’s dogged insistence on supporting Israel in a controversial United Nations vote was because Australian foreign policy had been “subcontracted” to Jewish donors.”

From The Australian Financial Review:
““Our stance on the Middle East is shameful,” he writes in his diary of November 10, 2012.”

From The Guardian:
“Bob Carr accused of bigotry over diary claims of pro-Israeli foreign policy”

From abc.net.au:
“The national chairman of the Australia-Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, Mark Leibler, has rejected Mr Carr’s claims [of an all powerful Israel-lobby] as “a figment of his imagination.””

From abc.net.au:
Danby “rubbishes” Carr’s claims.

From The Sydney Morning Herald:
“Bob Carr Defends Book Deal”

From News.com
“Diaries of A First Class Tosser”

From The Sydney Morning Herald:
Quoting Gore Vidal: “I cannot feel humble. Interested, curious, of course. Just not humble.”

A reader who wishes to remain anonymous asks: “If the Jewish/Zionist community really does have such great influence some politicians in Canberra, why is this being used only to forward a Likud agenda? I long for the day when this influence is also used to advocate for asylum seekers, GLBT Rights and action on Climate change. Surely these are issues of no less concern to the Jewish community in Australia.”

And finally, Ben Pobje satirises what he sees as Carr’s bloviating self -importance:
“Amazed by the mess left in the foreign minister’s office by Kevin. He has chewed almost every chair leg in the place, and the desk is full of Mexican walking fish. I can see I have a lot of work in front of me to turn this place around. Made a good start by gathering all the department staff together and singing them an aria from Tristan und Isolde. I think they got the message. Many were moved to tears. Later in the day went to the gym, where I challenged several young men to leg-lift races. They may never walk again.”


We’d like to wish everyone a Chag Sameach. We’ll be taking a break over Pessach and will return after normal eating has recommenced.

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  • Henry Herzog says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again Carr is an idiot. The Jewish lobby is so powerful, you fool, that it got rid of Keven Rudd because he expelled that Israeli diplomat. And reinstated him because he was to change the date of the election from Yom Kippur last year. And if you want to find his dairies in the library, look in the same section where you’re find The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, or maybe with the comics.

  • letters in the age says:

    Mr Danby’s comments was childish and unedifying. ..

    This will add fuel to the fire for all those bigots to use against the community now

    Sad on various levels.

    Like a Jackie Collins novel…people will want all the gossip and will still read it.

  • David Langsam says:

    I can only agree with both Henry and Letters. And both made me laugh.

    Carr’s sense of self-importance is one thing, but his concern with the Jewish/Israel lobby is not misplaced, nor would be concern with any other lobby – like the fossil fuel lobby which has this current government doing nothing on climate change or the junk food lobby which stopped a healthy eating website.

    That former AIJAC employee MIchael Danby decided to go in boots and all head-kicking a former ALP Foreign Minister, when he did have the option to keep his mouth shut and not give Carr’s diaries publicity, says it all.

    I think you can call Carr a lot of things, but I would not have included “bigot” and certainly not in the context of echoing George Brandis’ defence of the patently racist Murdoch-lackey Blot, who in turn does not see judges and barristers, but Jews, and thinks the Israel Jewish lobby, which always says it doesn’t exist, owes him a favor. After all he’s done for them … (que?)

    Oi gevult! I have bigger fish to gefilte, for Monday.

    Chag Sameach Pesach to all.


  • Yaron says:

    The Israel lobby is so powerful that it managed to block the pro-Israel Paul Howes from taking Bob Carr’s seat in the senate.

    Carr’s argument of “I own books about Israel” sounds like the ‘some of my best friends are Jewish’ argument. The sure sign of an anti-Semite.

  • letters in the age says:

    Thanks for your agreement.

    Watching Mr Carr on The Drum out of convenience it now has damaged further diplomatic relationships with people and their private conversations.

    The private is public now via the internet.

    Mr Danby is disgraceful in his riposte that reveals a lot about having no wit with any wisdom for his generation of labour men

    Time to move on there.

  • Grandma C says:

    I think Bob Carr is projecting when talking about the power of “the Jewish lobby”. Bob Carr was originally quite pro-Israel and supportive of the Jewish community back in the early 1980s when he first went into parliament. He was founder of the group “Labor friends of Israel”. Maybe he was doing what he thought necessary, and did not really support Israel, but I don’t think so.

    To me, he changed his attitude to Israel and the Jewish community, after the Hanan Ashrawi affair, when she was the recipient of the misnamed Sydney Peace Prize from the infamous Centre for Peace and conflict Studies at Sydney University. He had been asked to present her with the prize, and I think the representatives of the Jewish community made a big mistake (with benefit of hindsight) in making such a big song and dance about it, putting pressure on Bob Carr not to present her with the prize. That was his own negative experience of the Jewish lobby. Obviously the object of his ire is/was not so successful with regards to Bob Carr and Labor generally, but I think he has had a thing about our community ever since then. Hence his hackles being raised immediately re Julia Guillard’s support for Israel. Isn’t that offensive to Julia Guillard, who was/is an intelligent woman who could make up her own mind on issues?

    And finally, what about the extensive number of lobby groups for other community, ethnic, business groups…..it’s the norm. Why single out the Jewish community?

  • letters in the age says:

    Lobbying exists in politics and the more the community and the establishment become irate about it…that’s a win win for Mr Carr

    It’s cool in some circles to rattle the establishment…he’s done that quite well

    In this era of bigotry. ..let’s pick on The Jews.

    Genius to selling his book!

  • letters in the age says:

    Look at the I.P.A and their constant propaganda in the press….those bloody brats drive a lot of people crazy…lol!

    The Gay Lobby and it’s very” interesting”tactics

    The Australian Christian Lobby and their
    Influence with the conservative right.

    The real concern is that democracy shouldn’t be for sale like it is in the USA.

    Are we at that stage yet?

  • Eliezer says:

    Lobbies are not only legitimate in democracies, they are required for those democracies to be democracies. It is a fundamental principle of democracy that people have the right to assemble and to organize themselves regarding political questions, and to advocate for those positions — naturally, within the law, that is, not to advocate for violence and criminality. Neither can the state outlaw fund-raising for such groups.

    Without such lobbies, views that may not be endorsed by the elites might not be able to express themselves or defend their views and needs. E.g., the “Gun Lobby” in the U.S., so politically incorrect in the view of the chattering classes and media, is sustained by the small and large donations and memberships of huge numbers of ordinary Americans.

    Furthermore, where one lobby organizes, another opposing lobby might arise and organize too: it is all legal and entirely appropriate. In the end, the effectiveness of any lobby is derived from its persuasive and effective arguments (persuasive and effective to the public, and to politicians) over against the many other opposing viewpoints. “Letters in the Age” admonishes us not to follow the apparently by definition bad American example, where democracy is “for sale.” However, it is actually not so he can rest easy at night. He is taking U.S. leftist criticisms a little too credulously.

    As for lobbies funding the campaigns of those who agree with them, that too is legal. We may not always like it, but so long as public campaign funding is lawful at all, this is lawful too. Corruption, however, is against the law, so where evidence is revealed of bribery of politicians, that should be prosecuted. This applies to lobbies just as it does to everyone else.

    Bob Carr’s remarks are clearly hateful, false and harmful to Australian democracy per se, and not just to the Jewish community. Again and again in modern history, when the Jews in a liberal democracy are attacked for having undue influence, the real animus is against democracy itself and it is that that is being undermined. Carr apparently weds his inflated view of himself with “the best interests of Australia” per se, regardless of the democratic votes of the electorate. His personal attacks on Jewish leaders, his exaggerated rhetoric, his actual media campaigning on this issue now, well after his withdrawal from public office, and his silence about the Muslim lobby which his rhetoric clearly serves in NSW, all indicate that he is not a person of moral stature.

  • Grandma C says:

    Since I wrote my comment above, I have since read an incredible article by Gerard Henderson in The Australian (Inquirer section 19th-20th April)re Bob Carr and his change of mind re Israel. Seems it may nothave been the Hanan Ashrawi Affair after all (that’s when I noticed the change of heart/mind). Gerard Henderson now reveals a conversation he had with the Premier one week after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US. They were both at a special history awards dinner, and the US representative who was to be guest of honour could not come due to it being held a week after 9/11. To quote GH “Bob Carr seemed quite shaken by the 9/11 attack. He said to me that he had now come to the conclusion that the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 had been a mistake. Carr stated his belief that the Arab world would never accept the creation of a Jewish state and that Islamists would continue to target Western nations. From around late 2001, I noticed a change in Carr’s attitude towards Israel.”

    Apparently there was also the political factor of the Muslim Arab vote in Sydney’s western suburbs mentioned quite a few times in Carr’s new book. With Bob Carr such a keen student of history, I am surprised how he has not learned, and is doomed to repeat mistakes of others – and without a spine.
    And why has Gerard Henderson’s revelation not had more widespread coverage?

  • TheSadducee says:

    The point about changing attitudes amongst some portions of the political elite post 9/11 vis a vis Western support for Israel is something that bears serious investigation as it does have a significant impact on the Zionist endeavour and Jewish support for Israel, especially in the diaspora.

    Does anyone know if anyone has done any serious investigation into the issue?

  • Eliezer says:

    There certainly have been some excellent studies of this phenomenon. One of the best is by Bernard Harrison, The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism: Jews, Israel, and Liberal Opinion (2006). He is a British (non-Jewish) professor of philosophy, and he analyses in detail the language of the liberal-left “elite” writings on Israel-Palestinian topics in Great Britain, in newspapers and magazines, unfolding their logic (and illogic) and moral implications as indicators of current fundamental problems in contemporary British culture. He sees the treatment of Israel as part of a deeper ideational crisis amongst left-liberal elite opinion-makers in Europe. This is connected with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the success and power of America, and the increasing self-contradictions in the “post-national” European welfare state. He pin-points occasions when anti-Israel discourse enters fully antisemitic territory, but more generally faults left-liberals for creating a “climate of opinion” in which antisemitism is legitimated, often unintentionally, and cannot even be distinguished as such. His study is chiefly oriented to liberal-leftist opinion in the media. He takes it apart surgically. A book complementing Harrison’s is that by Robin Shepherd, A State Beyond the Pale: Europe’s Problem with Israel (2009). Shepherd, who lost his job at Chatham House, the British foreign policy think-tank, because of this book and similar writings, is neither Jewish nor a Christian Zionist, but is simply deeply concerned as a a political scientist and international relations professional about what he sees, with Harrison, as a fundamental culture-crisis in Europe, especially now that it is facing the Muslim/Islamist menace to its own values. His chapters focus above all on diplomatic circles and foreign policy persons and centres in Europe, with rich documentation. As he says in his Introduction, “(M)ere mention of Israel opens up a schism in the mind of the West like no other.” He is clear that in subjecting the announcements and positions of Western political and diplomatic figures to tests for double standards and latent or explicit antisemitism he is challenging a narrative that “has achieved a kind of hegemony over mainstream European discourse” and that is now infiltrating American circles as well.

    A lot of this twisted thinking comes from both the liberal and the not-so-liberal left, now increasingly indistinguishable. The roots of leftist antisemitism go right back to Marx, of course, but the new turns to this in the last few decades have been analysed by a number of leftist thinkers like Nick Cohen — see his What’s Left?: How Liberals Lost Their Way (2007), which he describes as an analysis of how the left of the 20th century came to support the far right of the 21st century. And Paul Berman, whose Terror and Liberalism (2003) explored the strange yearning of secular leftists for totalitarian and violent “solutions” to the tormenting ambiguities of open societies, leading to feelings of solidarity even with Islamofascism. He pursued the analysis to deeper levels in his The Flight of the Intellectuals: A Tale of Two Utopias, Power and the Idealists (2010).

    But for a straight historical analysis, in richly documented detail and depth, of the evolution of antisemitism in the last few decades, and its permutations since 2001, see Robert Wistrich, A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (2010), almost all of which focuses on the modern period, and his book on precisely your question, TheSadducee, From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, The Jews, and Israel (2012).

  • TheSadducee says:

    Thanks Eliezer for the resources, some of which I am familiar with.

    I was more inclining to studies of changes to perceptions of Israel amongst political elites as a result of 9/11 eg. As suggested by Grandma C’s comment about Henderson and Carr.

    Anything like that?

  • Eliezer says:

    I recall a number of articles by Manfred Gerstenfeld dealing with this in relationship to Europe, which you can Google; even articles tangential to this by him you will find interesting and informative, I am sure. Michael Oren’s Power, Faith and Fantasy: The United States in the Middle East, 1776 to 2006 (2007), a history of American relations to Middle Eastern affairs and to Israel in the past two generations as well, covers this. Oren summarizes some of his conclusions relating to American-Israeli ties in his essay in the journal Foreign Affairs, “The Ultimate Ally,” May-June 2011 (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/25/the_ultimate_ally?print=yes&hidecomments=yes&page=full).

    Shabbat shalom!

  • Eliezer says:

    In connection with Bob Carr’s evidently fearful response to 9-11, as reported by Gerard Henderson, and his present very obvious obsequious courting of the Muslim vote in western Sydney, both because of that fear it seems and even more because those electoral votes determine whether Labor carries Sydney and thus dominates in NSW, this move to court Muslim opinion electorally is in any case the eventually inevitable result of the admission of so many illegal immigrants from Muslim countries over the past decade or so. Naturally such a large new component of the population will have an impact in Australian politics. That impact will of course be to strengthen antisemitism and anti-Zionism, and weaken Australian support for the world’s only Jewish state in the international arena.

    The leaders of the Jewish community heavily support the open-door policy for Muslim immigrants, despite the policy’s very bad consequences for the Jewish community itself, as Robert Magid pointed out in a controversial article in the Australian Jewish News last year. I would say that Magid’s criticism has already been dramatically borne out by Carr’s activist promotion of pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli positions nationally and in regard to U.N. issues, and even his pernicious slanders about the “Israel Lobby” undermining Australian interests.

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