ECAJ annual conference: Take two

December 8, 2020 by Henry Benjamin
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Foreign Minister Senator Marise Payne has addressed a second sitting of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry’s annual conference originally held a week ago.

Marisa Payne  Photo:  Screenshot

The Minister was scheduled to speak but was unavailable but the delegates reconvened yesterday for a special sitting to hear Senator Payne.

President Jillian Segal introduced the Minister pointing out that she is also the Minister for Women.

Senator Payne opened her address with remarks on how difficult the year had been but she kept in perspective given that members of her audience were Holocaust survivors. Pointing out how COVID-19 had produced a very bad year, she told them “I am very conscious  many of those individuals and their families have endured far worse than anything 2020 has thrown at us.”

She said that for over seven decades so many have carried the scars of what was “the blackest crimes of humanity” adding “we will remember the horrific the events of the Holocaust”.

She addressed all Holocaust survivors and their descendants saying “Never again. This government will stand up and speak out in support of Judaism and Israel’s sovereign rights.”

On the Abraham Accords, she commented: “I believe there is now a glimmer of hope that other nations agree there is much more to be gained by welcoming Israel than by fighting it. Not all nations but in 2020 this is a sign of progress. Israel has engaged the world to build and durable bonds with people of goodwill. Australia is all the richer in counting ourselves blessed to have the trust and the faith of Israel from the very beginning of Israel’s formation.”

In a few weeks, Australia’s two-year term as a member of the U.N. Human Right Council will end.

Senator Payne said: “In our two years on the Council we have steadfastly, resolutely maintained our strong objections to discriminatory resolution aimed against solely and specifically against Israel.

She mentioned that Australia has found new allies to counter the anti-Israel resolutions. She said: “They have assisted us in resisting the insidious creep of antisemitism cloaked in the language of human rights. We have carried that voting pattern into the U.N. General Assembly and we maintain our steadfast position on voting against resolutions including contentious and anti-Israel language.”

Senator Payne spoke about Iran’s release of academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert and warned all Australians to check out travel advice the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade available on the internet.

Her address closed on the Malka Leifer hoped-for extradition from Israel.

Wanted to face 74 charges of child sexual abuse in Melbourne, Leifer’s appeal against extradition was heard last week in Israel’s Supreme Court. A decision is due within the next two weeks.

Senator Payne said: “I know this is a painful issue for many. I want to reassure you that the Australian Government is focused on a just and legal process.”


One Response to “ECAJ annual conference: Take two”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    Kudos to her.
    “I am very conscious many of those individuals and their families have endured far worse than anything 2020 has thrown at us.

    I see her now in a slightly different context…….

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