AIJAC says thank you

June 2, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council has thanked Foreign Minister Julie Bishop for the country’s vote against a World Health Organisation motion accusing Israel of violating the rights of West Bank residents.

The motion was reported on J-Wire on May-28.

Israel was the only country individually singled out for mention by a resolution at the Assembly. Australia was one of only eight countries to vote against the motion.

Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) National Chairman Mark Leibler and Executive Director Colin Rubenstein wrote to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to express the organisation’s appreciation.

Mark Leibler

Mark Leibler

The letter called the government’s stance a “principled stand”, adding, “It was notable that, to their shame, many Western democracies joined the lynch mob declaring, in effect, that Israel was the only nation to violate human rights in this area. It may therefore have been easier for our delegation to go along with the crowd, and abstain or even vote in favour. In fact, while 108 countries supported the motion, there were only eight countries that voted against, with a further eight abstaining. This makes the stand we did take all the more honourable, praiseworthy and welcome.” It also drew attention to the fact that “the motion also critically called attention to Israel’s record on the Golan Heights, and relied on a typically jaundiced report from the Syrian government to do so, even though the Syrian government has killed hundreds of thousands of its own people.”

Dr Colin Rubenstein

Dr Colin Rubenstein

The letter then pointed out another massive flaw in the motion – Israel’s efforts to improve health outcomes in areas it controls and even beyond. Mr. Leibler and Dr Rubenstein wrote, “By any measure, the reality is that Israel has devoted considerable resources to improving the health of residents of the West Bank and Gaza. According to the World Bank, average life expectancy in those areas in 2014 was 73, above that for the wider Middle East and North Africa. This has risen from an estimated 48 in 1967. According to UNICEF, in 1950-1955, the infant mortality rate in the West Bank and Gaza was 158 per 1000 live births. By 1985-90 it was down to 25 and in 2014 it was 13.5 in the West Bank and 15.5 in Gaza.

“According to UNICEF, in 2014, immunisation rates for children against major diseases in the West Bank and Gaza were between 97% and 99%.

“It’s also worth noting that, despite the security considerations, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians receive treatment in Israeli hospitals. For example, in 2013 a report published by Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Unit (COGAT) shows that 219,464 Palestinian patients received medical treatment in Israeli hospitals during 2012 – 21,270 of them children. Israeli hospitals now even treat people wounded in the horrendous Syrian conflict.”

The letter concluded, “These figures go some of the way to demonstrating how ludicrous was the overall vote on item 19. So we very gratefully thank you again for your leadership in ensuring Australia, unlike so many others governments, has in exercising its vote in this matter, yet again demonstrated sound judgement, considerable courage and moral clarity.”


One Response to “AIJAC says thank you”
  1. Erica Edelman says:

    So let me understand this. WHO doesn’t have all those
    Stats above? That AGENCY is supposed to be the repository of
    All World Health stats. Makes them look like a defacto organization. And a bunch of anti-Semitic bastards. What a disgrace.
    And what’s with : Gratefully like to thank you? Sound judgment ? Considerable courage? And moral clarity? AND Appreciation to Ms Bishop? For simply telling the truth and getting the facts straight?
    She should have SET THEM ALL STRAIGHT in the first place – ALL 124 countries – BEFORE the VOTE. AIJAC should be UTTERLY INDIGNANT about the whole matter. Grateful? Appreciative ? How does that work?

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