“We will not be intimidated” pledge friends of dialogue

February 12, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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Dialogue, education and aspirations for a better future for Israelis and Palestinians were emphasised at an Australia-Israel Labor Dialogue (AILD) event in the lead-in to the 2016 NSW Labor Party State Conference.

Greg Holland

Greg Holland

The large gathering of Federal and State MPs, Party officials and members, trade unionists, Young Labor leaders,  student activists and Jewish community personalities heard passionate, principled and positive addresses on the special relationship between Labor in Australia and Israel.

Greg Holland, NSW Convenor of AILD, applauded the role of organisations such as The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) in advancing knowledge of all aspects of Israel, including but not restricted to issues relating to Palestinians. He quoted The Executive Council of Australian Jewry executive

Greg Weiss, Greg Holland and Walt Secord MP

Greg Weiss, Greg Holland and Walt Secord MP

director Peter Wertheim’s depiction of “an orchestrated campaign” to undermine intellectual enquiry and sensible policy outcomes, and applauded the work of the NSW Jewish Board of deputies in  building good relations with the ALP.

He concluded that “we reject bans on relationship-building with Israelis and Palestinians – we will not be intimidated!”.
State President of the ALP, Mark Lennon, who noted he had participated in an AIJAC programme where he met Israelis and Palestinians, spoke of the “hope for peace”, and stressed that just

Michael Fisher, Belle Polgar, Michael Zelas

Michael Fisher, Belle Polgar, Michael Zelas

because peace had not been achieved was no reason to stop working towards that goal.

He spoke of the way many debates, and politics itself, have become polarized, as people feel insecure and look for answers in “simple black and white, when the reality is many shades of grey”.
“There is a  way forward – not simply through politics but through

 Ausseela Thanaphongsakorn ,  John Harding Easson, Steven Lewis


Ausseela Thanaphongsakorn , John Harding Easson, Steven Lewis

dialogue – between labor parties, trade unions, people to people.”

He said he was sure the NSW Labor Party would reach a compromise position on the Middle East  and that the valuable relationship with the Jewish community would help in the promotion of considered policy positions and promotion of dialogue.
Mary Easson, a former federal MP and tireless advocate of strong, mutually beneficial ties between Australia and Israel, gave a passionate speech on the factors which made it difficult for

Jeremy Jones, Kevin Mooney, Elijah Perrier

Jeremy Jones, Kevin Mooney, Elijah Perrier

Israel to be judged fairly and why she believed “support for the Jewish people and Israel is not just right, but a defining issue as to where one stands” on a series of principles.

She thanked young ALP members for “inspiring we older people” to rebuild a movement committed to the highest ideals and the reestablishment of a strong, vibrant, Australia-Israel Labor relationship”.
Concluding a powerful presentation, she urged pro-Israel  Labor supporters to join the Party, as that is such an important battlefield in the war of ideas.

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