NSW Labor encourages members to visit Israel and Palestine
In a no strings attached resolution replacing others designed to force NSW Labor party members to spend equal time in Palestine and Israel when visiting Israel, NSW Labor politicians have now been encouraged to extend their knowledge of the region with no strings attached.
The replacement resolution which was passed with endorsement of Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten at the NSW Labor Party conference in Sydney today appeared on the screens .
Planned resolutions to be presented to the weekend NSW Labor Conference in Sydney included stipulations that members should not go on trips to the region planned by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies or the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council.
The Australia Israel Labor Dialogue (AILD) has come out in support of the motion passed by the NSW ALP State Conference today, which encourages Party members “visiting the region for the purpose of understanding the conflict to spend substantial time in both Israel and Palestine”.
AILD NSW Convenor, Greg Holland, said that other motions which had proposed imposing travel bans on Party members specifically wanting to visit Israel was a “totalitarian move by those in the Party who are anti-Israel. There is no place for restricting freedom of travel in our Party.”
“The motion agreed by Conference is balanced, demonstrates rational policy toward encouraging understanding of the complexity of the region, and seeks not to single out and demonise Israel”, Holland said. “Most importantly, in an election year, Conference has supported the position of the ALP National Leadership on this issue and avoids distractions from the main game – winning Government”, he said.
The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies ‘ president Jeremy Spinak said: “This is a sensible outcome that rejects the anti-Israel bias and discrimination promoted by a few party members.
“When organising our study missions to the region, we always encourage members to visit both the Palestinian territories and Israel in order to get a thorough understanding of the reality on the ground.
In the lead up to conference the majority of NSW ALP leaders engaged with the Jewish Community and we greatly appreciated the open and wide-ranging discussions. We met with over 40 union officials and NSW MPs, including Luke Foley, and were greatly assisted by the ECAJ and by Greg Holland and the Australia-Israel Labor Dialogue.
The outcome reflects the fact that a majority of ALP members wished for a fair and factual debate, wanted to focus on issues that were of immediate importance to NSW and did not wish to participate in an anti Israel vendetta.”
The Australia Israel Labor Dialogue runs a number of Study Missions to Israel and Palestine for ALP members, and seeks to build bridges of understanding and friendship between the Australian and Israeli Labor Parties so that people on the Left get to hear what the Left in Israel is trying to do to solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, plus the myriad
environmental, social, human rights, LGBTI, and industrial relations issues confronting people living in the region.
The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council’s executive director Dr Colin Rubenstein said: “We are grateful to all those who successfully produced a motion focusing on advancing a two-state peace process and we look forward to working with everyone who genuinely promotes peace and a better future for Israelis and Palestinians. AIJAC is a strong supporter of dialogue, engagement and informed understanding, and we encourage people to visit both Israel and the Palestinian territories.
We welcome this effective rebuff of bullies and censors by the NSW ALP State Conference.”