A NSW Parliament take on the Israel-Palestine conflict…writes Judy Singer

March 18, 2013 by Judy Singer
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The NSW Parliamentary Friends of Palestine went on a study tour to hell. Deep in the special chamber reserved for militants of the “Middle East conflict” an outrageous sight greeted our parliamentarians.  Exactly as they expected,  there were the Israelis, lolling about on deckchairs, brazenly sipping unattributed orange juice,  while the Palestinians were forced to stand on their heads, neck deep in sewage. But as our parliamentary pack rushed to the elevators to prepare their reports, they missed the foreman’s whistle: “Morning shift’s over. Everybody change places!”

And so it will go on, l’olam va’ed, unless there’s a creative game-changer

How did last week’s fracas in the Upper House help?

Judy Singer

Judy Singer

For Australians who are neither Israelis nor Palestinians, is it really helpful to recreate the Middle East conflict, to perpetuate the blame game, to barrack for one team and refuse to listen to the other?

Ok, so the Israelis have been on top for the last 60 years. They’ve got the sovereignty and the weaponry to defend it. Though 65 years of constant attrition and threats of annihilation are hardly a deckchair and cocktails existence. The Palestinians on the other hand have the numbers and time on their side. And the moral advantage of the underdog.

If Australian parliamentarians have such a passion for peace in another region of the planet,  what we need from them is a circuit-breaker,  a Parliamentarians for a Creative Israel and Palestine, not an unseemly tit-for-tat on “who started it” and “who is the biggest victim”.

Such a bipartisan caucus should not find it hard to appreciate the fears of the people in the deckchairs, nor the plight of those currently in the dreck.

It’s disingenuous for David Shoebridge to claim the high moral ground and refuse to attend what he calls a “one-sided PR exercise” by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. What then was the 2010 APHEDA tour engaged in by his predecessor, Sylvia Hale, and Linda Voltz, his ALP co-convenor of the Parliamentary friends in that year?  Sure, he didn’t attend, but he cannot deny that this one-sided tour, whose decontextualised findings ricocheted around the Green/ Left, did not have the most profound influence on him.

At the same time it was disingenuous of Labor and the Liberals to wind the Greens up with a motion that egregiously pointed the finger at them.

As Jews we are grateful to those who recognise our fears and our narrative, and particularly to Walt Secord for sticking his neck out against an onslaught from fellow ALP party member Shaoquett Moselmane, who knew what he was doing when he hit the Jewish community below the belt where it would hurt most.

To her credit Linda Voltz has indicated that she is willing to attend a similar tour to Israel. Perhaps one day she will follow in the footsteps of Green with a vision for a positive future, Jeremy Buckingham who has joined both Parliamentarians for Palestine and for Israel.

Judy Singer is a J-Wire contributing editor


3 Responses to “A NSW Parliament take on the Israel-Palestine conflict…writes Judy Singer”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    That’s an intelligent article, Judy Singer.

  2. George says:

    Thank you for an excellent article pointing out the well-meaning naivety of some Australian politicians who oversimplify the Israeli-Palestinian issue, simply deciding that because the palestinians are militarily and economically disadvantaged, and their plight is so well publicised, right-thinking people must therefore be unequivocally and unconditionally on their side, and against Israel. This ignores the complexity of the problem, and definitely does NOT help create peace.

  3. Bearish says:

    Why is parliament talking about Israel and Palestine instead of the ongoing atrocities in Syria? Doesn’t it count as murder if you kill your own?

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