Malcolm in Melbourne

April 26, 2013 by David Marlow
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Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) President Nina Bassat has hosted Federal Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull, Member for Wentworth at a meeting with JCCV Affiliate Presidents and other community leaders in the Lamm Jewish Library.

Malcolm Turnbull, Nina Bassat and Kevin Ekendahl

Malcolm Turnbull, Nina Bassat and Kevin Ekendahl

Malcolm Turnbull toured the library and spoke eloquently about his knowledge of Jewish history, the history of Hebrew, Yiddish and Ladino languages, and related several anecdotes and historical stories that demonstrated a strong grasp of the Jewish experience.

There was an active and wide ranging question time in the packed venue where Mr Turnbull answered questions on the areas of BDS, asylum seekers, NBN policy, the Gonski recommendations, settlements and other areas of policy.

Mr Turnbull said, “we condemn the BDS campaign…which is aimed at deligitimising Israel…the end of the BDS campaign is the end of Israel.”  He also described the BDS campaign as dark, disturbing and extremely malevolent.

With regard to settlements, Mr Turnbull said that “unilateral measures don’t have a great history of success” as exemplified by the Israeli experience since the Gaza pullout.

He said that “Israel deserves our strong support” and that Israel had to be strong to survive, because of the strength of those who opposed it.

In response to a question regarding the Gonski Reforms, Mr Turnbull said that he was concerned that teachers opposed performance based pay and felt that it was only fair that the best teachers were paid more.  He also expressed sympathy for David Gonski “whose name has become a controversial proper noun”.

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