Australia’s new government rejects UN Right Council focus on Israel

June 15, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Addressing fellow delegates following the release of the first report by the UNHRC’s Commission of Inquiry into alleged Israeli human rights abuses in Geneva,  Australia’s ambassador to the U.N. Amanda Gorely expressed the Australian government’s  “fundamental concerns” about the permanent inquiry and the “disproportionate scrutiny” of Israel.

The Zionist Federation of Australia welcomed the Australian Government’s rejection of the UN Human Rights Council’s disproportionate focus on Israel.

On Monday, the new Australian Government rejected the proposition that Israel should be a permanent Human Rights Council agenda item and expressed its “fundamental concerns about the nature” of the Human Rights Council’s permanent commission of inquiry into Israel.

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ZFA President Jeremy Leibler said, “We welcome the Albanese Government’s principled stand against the idea that Israel should be a permanent agenda item at the Human Rights Council, and its refusal to participate in such discussions. In doing so, the Government has maintained the bipartisan consensus that Israel should be treated like all other countries. We also welcome the government’s expression of its fundamental concerns with the commission of inquiry.”

After the initial commission of inquiry report was released last week, Mr Leibler said, “Just as Israel is the Human Rights Council’s only permanent agenda item, this commission of inquiry is the Human Rights Council’s only permanent investigation. All three commissioners have made public antagonistic comments about Israel prior to their appointment, such that it is practicing apartheid, or participating in ethnic cleansing, and should be boycotted. These positions should invalidate their involvement, given the UN Human Rights Council’s staff impartiality requirements, and should make all objective people question their findings.”

Mr Leibler continued, “By the authors’ own admission, the report focuses disproportionately on Israel, perhaps best exemplified by the fact Hamas is mentioned three times in 18 pages, compared to 157 mentions of Israel. It also ignores evidence or context that reveals the conflict’s complexity and the culpability of Palestinian factions in perpetuating the violence.”

President of Zionism Victoria Yossi Goldfarb said, “That the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the only global situation deemed worthy of a permanent commission of inquiry already highlights the UN’s prejudiced view of Israel. But this is further underlined by the report’s findings which focus almost entirely on allegations of Israel while skimming over the crimes perpetrated by Hamas.

“Amid speeches that were overwhelmingly hostile to Israel, we are grateful to the new government for speaking out against the UNHRC’s blatant bias and for upholding Australia’s bipartisan support of the Jewish State both domestically and on the international stage.”

Ambassador Gorely, Australia’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said in addressing the council: “Australia agrees that the Human Rights Council brings a disproportionate scrutiny to Israel. We do not support the proposition that Israel is the only country that is a permanent item on the HRC agenda, which is why Australia does not and will not engage in Item 7 of the council’s debate, and why we retain our fundamental concerns about the nature of the commission of inquiry. Australia’s guiding principle will be advancing the cause for peace. viewing any conflict from one perspective will not achieve this goal.”

AIJAC Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein said, “We congratulate the Albanese Government for refusing to accept the morally indefensible position of the UN Human Rights Council’s that makes Israel its only permanent agenda item.

“The new Government’s fundamental concerns about the nature of this Commission of Inquiry have thus proven to be a point of bipartisan agreement in Canberra, and a part of a broad Australian political consensus about our national interests on this issue.

“Australia’s principled position sends some clear messages: Yes to the protection of human rights, yes to universal application of those protections, yes to measures that remove obstacles for peaceful conflict resolution between Israel and the Palestinians, but, most emphatically, no to singling out Israel for disproportionate criticism and scrutiny at the expense of others,” Dr Rubenstein concluded.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry states “The differences between Australia’s statement and the joint statement are differences of nuance rather than of substance.  Most of  Australia’s statement is devoted to confirming Australia’s fundamental concerns about the nature of the UN Human Rights Council’s Committee of Inquiry and criticising the Council’s disproportionate scrutiny of Israel.

Australia also expressly criticises the fact that Israel is the only country that is a permanent item on the Human Rights Council agenda (Item 7), and confirms that Australia refuses to engage in that Item.

This has been the first real foreign policy test of the new government on an Israel-related issue and it reflects more continuity than difference in Australia’s approach.


3 Responses to “Australia’s new government rejects UN Right Council focus on Israel”
  1. Suzanne says:

    It didn’t take long for Labor has turned against Israel shame on them

  2. william h rocheblave says:

    well, every country has its problems, and they have a right to reject Israel to on this matter.

  3. Richard Grauaug says:

    Will the report or investigation from the UNHRC look into the matter of the rockets intended to hit innocent Israelis but which were misfired by Hamas from Gaza that landed in Gaza and killed Gazans ? Will Labor make sure it does ? More than likely the UNHRC investigation will not make any adverse findings against Gaza or Hamas simply blame Israel as that is the narrative of the UNHRC as is usual and customary. Now why did Australia not support the US led condemnation as well as making this so called welcome statement mentioned in the above article. Even Canada and US led by Biden supported Israel. Why not Australia ? The article is very diplomatic but does not address these issues. Why not ?

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