Betar has words for Bob Carr

August 29, 2013 by  
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Betar is a Jewish Zionist youth movement. Their Australian arm has words for Foreign Minister Bob Carr who declared Israel’s settlements in Israel illegal. 


An open letter to Bob Carr:


“To begin with, as Australian Jewish youth we wish to express our gratitude for your commitment to Israel’s security during the most recent conflict, Operation Pillar of Defence (November, 2012). We had a group of young Australians touring Israel at the time and it was reassuring to know that DFAT had their security in mind. Senator Carr, your legacy as a NSW MP representing our community in South-East Sydney and as a founding member of Labor Friends of Israel is being rewritten. Your statements on the campaign trail have been of concern to Jewish youth, especially those involved in maintaining community connection to Israel.

The words chosen to address Muslim citizenry for Eid al-Adha at Lakemba Mosque on the 8th of August were not only of concern to Australian Jewry, but were inappropriate in the context of such a holy day for the Islamic faith. Expressions of foreign policy absolutism do not advance freedom of worship, they actually undermine it. The assertion of Palestinian self- determination as the dominant issue within the Australian Islamic community overlooks much of the imminent current issues facing both Sunnis and Shiites. With only seven thousand Australian Palestinians (note that many are not Muslim) you miss an important opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the real issues and concerns facing these communities. A more critical analysis may even consider it ignorant. Moreover, the fastest growing Muslim communities in Australia are not actually Arab, they are African, Indonesian, Urdu etc; these groups are in many ways divorced from the experiences of Arab Muslims, their ties are based on faith, not nationalism. In choosing to focus so heavily on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in such a meaningful address, you may have missed out on connecting on a more genuine and productive level with a growing sector of Australian society. Finally it creates a dangerous divide between Jewish and Muslim Australians and strains the positivity that has been generated through interfaith initiatives between our communities; ultimately this damages our collective national identity as Australians.

The Hon. Joe Hockey MP spoke for the Coalition at the service and did so appropriately. As one of Palestinian extraction he spoke of the migrant experience and the need to preserve tolerance and unity in Australian society. These topics are a lot more suited to such an event; hey arouse positivity, are relevant to the entirety of the Islamic community and express an important message for all Australians. At a time when Israel and the Palestinian Authority are negotiating peace, it is unhelpful for the Australian Foreign Minister to be dictating the outcome of the talks from across oceans and seas. We refer to your statement, said in such rigour and anger that “all settlements on Palestinian land are illegal under international law and should cease”. There have been conflicting debates regarding the legality of settlements since 1967 and a court has never determined the issue. Leading minds such as Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard University have determined the area ‘disputed’ not ‘occupied’ and therefore express desire for its future to be negotiated, not dictated. Even within your own party there is friction in regards to this issue. Veteran Labor MP Mr Michael Danby has expressed disappointment at your comments, which above their controversy, departed from the view of the Prime Minister. Many in our community have interpreted this as an individual attempt to forge your own agenda on the Middle East and doing so at the expense of compromise and democracy, underpinning values of our parliamentary system.

Finally during the foreign policy debate at the Lowy Institute the day before your appearance at Lakemba Mosque it was surprising to note that when asked for the three areas that differentiate Labor from the Coalition on foreign policy, you mentioned the Arab-Israeli conflict foremost. We certainly don’t mean to engage in political advisory, but as the fuel in the tank for the Asian-Pacific market, with a humanitarian crisis on our shores and troops in Afghanistan, how does this issue gain such prioritization on your agenda? How does it even make it onto your agenda at all? We appreciate your concern with Israel; however, as Australians we think such high-level engagement with a conflict that is largely irrelevant to Australia’s fundamental needs and crises is frankly irresponsible and distorted. Additionally, your policy justification that “Australia would lose a lot in the Arab world if it didn’t support Palestine” is also of concern. Would it not be best for our foreign policy agenda to dictate the needs, desires and traditions of the Australian People rather than appeasement?

We would appreciate a clarification of your comments and a reiteration of your commitment to Israel’s security. With this we hope that the Labor Party will return to the days of Herb Evatt and Bob Hawke and engage with Israel as a strategic ally and not a tool for political manipulation.

Yours Sincerely,
Betar Australia Inc.
Betar is an Australian Zionist youth movement based in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. It is a member of the Australian Zionist Youth Council and the Zionist Federation of Australia.



7 Responses to “Betar has words for Bob Carr”
  1. Sam says:

    I really think these comments from Betar are unnecessary. Carr has taken a responsible outlook towards the Israel-Palestine issue. This letter only portrays the Jewish community as one which values itself above others.

    • Sam says:

      For you info Sam. Most people value themselves above others. We would not be human if we didn’t

      Betar speaks the truth and it is not just the case of the Community. We are speaking here of a tiny country in a sea of hostility, who would see it destroyed.

  2. danny kidron says:

    wasted words on a back bencher walking.

  3. David says:

    I also have words for Bob Carr – you have failed to be fair and even-handed to the Jewish community and therefore failed as a politician, you are fired effective next Saturday.

  4. Adrian says:

    We in NSW remember Senator Carr only too well, but not too fondly, both in regard to his governance and his bias in matters of Middle East policy.It speaks volumes that he had to resurrect his less-than-notable predecessor Gareth Evans to try to put his failed government, and their failed policies “on the right side of history”.It is beholden for the Australian people to put this failed mottley crew, who are not fit to govern, on the right side of history. Their spin can not hide the difference between them and the opposition from a Jewish perspective any longer. It is more the pity that Senator Carr will be shielded from the will of the people and the disdain of the Jewish community by virtue of his leapfrogging into secure tenure. This only accentuates the void of any real talent or principle amongst his colleagues.

    • danny kidron says:

      Adrian, you are spot on in your assertions and with sincerity and only with good intent i point out that your grammer is not:
      ” …. put his failed government, and their failed policie …” – “government” is singular – one government – so even though it has many members it is one so “… failed government and ITS failed policies …”
      Likewise with ” … failed mottley crew, who are not fit to govern …” – “… failed motley crew, WHICH IS not fit …” because there is one crew.
      To be fair, it is an all too common error which has crept into the English language.

      • Aaron says:

        “only with good intent i point out” — “only with good intent I point out”.

        To be fair, it is an all too common error which has crept into the English language.

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