Bob Carr – AIJAC has its say…and Danby watches the 7:30 Report

April 14, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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Executive director of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council Dr Colin Rubenstein believes he always enjoyed a healthy relationship with former Foreign Minister Bob Carr. Rubenstein has returned home from overseas and read Carr’s comments on the Jewish lobby. AIJAC has its say…
Dr Colin Rubenstein

Dr Colin Rubenstein

From Dr Colin Rubenstein: ” AIJAC has had good relations with former Foreign Minister Bob Carr over many years and are puzzled and disappointed by his strange claims that Australian foreign policy under the previous government was under the sway of the “extraordinary influence” of a Melbourne based pro-Israel lobby – apparently a reference primarily to AIJAC. It is frankly sad when an elected official imagines that disagreement with their policy position must stem from malicious influences.

Mr Carr’s spurious allegations that the lobby held “extraordinary” and “unhealthy” sway over the views of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her office show her a distinct lack of respect. Ms Gillard was an independent-thinking Prime Minister who is fully as capable of coming to her own conclusions about optimum Australian foreign policies as is Mr Carr. The fact that some of her conclusions on promoting Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation were different from Carr’s is no more evidence that she was under the influence of “unhealthy” pro-Israeli lobbying than Carr’s views are evidence that he is under the “sway” of Australia’s several pro-Palestinian lobby groups.

AIJAC seeks exactly what Mr. Carr seeks for the Middle East – a negotiated two-state solution whereby an independent Palestinian state arises on the vast majority of the West Bank and Gaza augmented by land swaps from Israel, while the Palestinians accept Israel’s right to live in peace as a Jewish state. Yet bizarrely, because we had some friendly disagreements with Mr. Carr on the best policies to encourage this outcome, we are, in Mr. Carr’s lexicon, “extreme right-wing.”

Despite Mr. Carr’s unfortunate decision to engage in ad hominim attacks rather than debate the best way to achieve this shared goal, AIJAC will continue to make the case, fairly and openly, to anyone who cares to listen, for the Australian policies which we believe, after all due consideration, are most likely to help bring about lasting and secure Israeli-Palestinian peace. And we make no apologies for doing so.”

Federal Labor MP Michael Danby watched the Bob Carr interview on the 7:30 Report….

Michael Danby reflected on Bob Carr’s key interview on the 7:30 Report, promoting his book, saying, “His performance was comical bordering on maniacal. Anyone who watched it would be reminded of the character Jack Nicholson played in the move As Good As It Gets. It was that funny.”
Danby said Carr criticises Prime Minister Gillard and the former government and Cabinet processes on the program and in the book. He said Carr was “a bloke plucked from obscurity who was not working as a current politician at the time he was elevated to the Senate and as Foreign Minister. Then the former provincial premier dumps on Gillard and the former Labor government after the Labor Party supported him all of his political life.” Danby said Carr and his book were characterised by ingratitude.
Michael Danby

Michael Danby

Danby said in retrospect, given all of the division that he caused and his obvious dislike even of the Prime Minister’s voice, it was a mistake bringing him out of retirement to be Foreign Minister, but adding that “now he seems obsessed with the food that he got on the plane and his diet and which ties and upgrades to first class, which many other commentators have mocked.”

“It is slightly nutty to refer to your directives to the Department of Foreign Affairs as Fuhrerbefehls, which means leader orders in German. It does sort of give you an odd flavour to the character of the man,” Danby continued.
In Danby’s most blunt comment, he described Carr’s claims that the pro-Israel lobby exerted extraordinary influence over Prime Minister Gillard’s office as “laughable”. “No lobby in Australia has that kind of influence,” he said, “I suppose in the current climate, as George Brandis says, people do have the right to be a bigot.”
Federal Member for Melbourne Ports Michael Danby has clarified his remarks on Bob Carr, saying he is perpetuating crazy conspiracy theories about the Israel lobby that seem not to apply to any other lobby groups.
As Danby went on to put it, “His comments that the Israel lobby, or AIJAC, exerts so much influence over Prime Minister Gillard simply doesn’t make any sense. It’s a strange leap from having access, which a wide number of interest and lobby groups have, to the kind of puppeteering Mr Carr seems to think the Jewish lobby had over Julia Gillard.”
He continued, “The lobby group AIJAC organise fellowship programs just as a large number of national and cross-cultural groups offer fellowships to promote greater understanding on a range of issues and journalists receive a proportion of those fellowships too. The AIJAC program is no different to any other of them. There are also exchange programs with the US, China, Germany, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Perhaps Mr Carr will single out the Vietnamese exchange for its ‘sinister’ anti-China influence on Australian Foreign Policy for his next spectacular Media meltdown?”
“If offering people information & context is causing influence then it’s merely a credit to the quality of the information they are offering. It would be one thing for Bob Carr to suggest he doesn’t agree with the policies of AIJAC but another to suggest Julia Gillard was under their control or subcontracting her policies to them. It speaks volumes about the lack of respect Bob has for a highly intelligent and independent Prime Minister who dragged him out of retirement to be Australia’s top diplomat; who he claimed he supported and now reveals he didn’t. I’m sorry Bob didn’t get QANTAS pyjamas on all his overseas flights but as far as revenge trips this is going too far.”
Danby concluded on a lighter note, addressing other parts of Carr’s book and interview, remarking “The interview was very funny and I know lots of people are laughing at the book. They’re not laughing with Bob, they’re laughing at him.”



One Response to “Bob Carr – AIJAC has its say…and Danby watches the 7:30 Report”
  1. David Singer says:

    Congratulations Michael Danby on your withering critique of your former Labor colleague and Foreign Minister Bob Carr

    Carr’s attempt to unilaterally change the then Labor Government’s policy on Israel on the steps of the Lakemba Mosque is well documented in the following series of articles written by me and published on various news sites on the Internet – including Jwire

    Read them and the Jew hating comments my articles provoked at your leisure at:
    Palestine – Rudd, Carr and Labor sink in silence
    Domestic Politics – 3/09/2013 – 15 comments
    Palestine: Rudd And Carr tightlipped on anti-Jewish policy
    International – 27/08/2013 – 79 comments
    Is Carr’s Lakemba Mosque declaration policy on the run?
    International – 19/08/2013 – 17 comments
    Carr sideswipes Jews on Palestine
    International – 14/08/2013 – 32 comments

    My articles were critical of Carr trying to fit Prime Minister Rudd and Labor with an anti-Jewish policy made on the run at the Lakemba mosque – with Rudd refusing to confirm it was indeed his view and Labor policy.

    Carr had ample opportunities to publicly deny my claims but never raised even a whimper.

    Carr is obviously very bitter at being out of a job for which he must share the blame as a result of his extraordinary attempt to subvert Labor party policy.

    Does an explanation of his conduct rate a mention in his book?

    I do not intend to spend my money trying to find out.

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