ECAJ meets with Julie Bishop

October 26, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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The Executive Council of Australian Jewry’s President Robert Goot, and Executive Director, Peter Wertheim, have met with Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop.

Julie Bishop

Julie Bishop

The meeting was sought by the ECAJ following media reports of a shift in Australia’s foreign policy towards Iran and the Assad regime in Syria.

The Foreign Minister stated in the clearest possible terms that there has been no shift in policy.

“We continue to have discussions with Iran about the repatriation of 8,000 of their nationals who came to Australia by boat,” Ms Bishop said.

“This includes how best the Iranian government can process these matters, however there is no specific plan to establish consulates in Sydney and Melbourne at this time.”

Ms Bishop said, “We have asked the Iranian government to provide us with any information they might have about Australian citizens who have joined Islamic State in Syria or Iraq. We have made this same request of other governments”.

The Foreign Minister confirmed that the Australian government has welcomed the final agreement that was concluded in July between Iran and the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany (P5+1) concerning Iran’s nuclear
program. However, she emphasised that Australia’s sanctions, including the autonomous sanctions, will remain force until there is verification, and international acceptance, of Iran’s compliance with its obligations under the agreement.

“This government remains resolutely committed to Israel’s right to live in peace and to defend itself,” Ms Bishop said. “I have raised concerns with the Iranian foreign minister about negative statements towards Israel.”

More generally, Ms Bishop said that the government was very proud of its solid record of support for Israel, especially at the UN. She said that at the end of December 2014, just before Australia’s two year term on the UN Security Council came to an end, Australia voted against a Palestinian-drafted motion calling for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and the establishment of a Palestinian state by the end of 2017. The motion was defeated without the need for the US to exercise its veto. Australia’s official Explanation of Vote criticised the motion stating:

“It lacks balance and seeks to impose a solution put forward by one party alone. Final status issues can only be resolved between the two sides. A process agreed by both sides is the only way forward to reach an enduring agreement.”

Recalling the incident, Ms Bishop noted the sharp contrast between the present government’s depth of commitment to Israel and the harsh and unfairly critical attitude adopted by the previous government under former Foreign Minister Bob Carr.

On the question of Syria, Ms Bishop expressed the view that the Assad regime had long ago lost its legitimacy, saying: “Any government that militarily attacks its own citizens with chemical weapons and barrel bombs has forfeited its right to govern.” She noted that the difficulty right now is that there is no way to remove Assad. “He has the support of only a small percentage of the Syrian people but is being maintained in power by Iran and by Russia. In the absence of a viable option to remove Assad from power, there is no alternative but to accept that his departure is not necessarily a precondition for achieving a political settlement of the conflict in Syria. All options have to be left open.”

The Foreign Minister concluded by saying that she was happy for the ECAJ to communicate to the wider community the views she had expressed at the meeting.


4 Responses to “ECAJ meets with Julie Bishop”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    You’re absolutely right, Erica Edelman, although Julie Bishop, while highly professional, intelligent, and it seems more than efficient at her job, is very obviously affected by ego and vanity. She’s particularly proud of her so-called ‘death stare’ and reputation as a tough customer. So, I think she has a way to go yet in developing real substance and the ease that comes with depth and dimension of character. Nice? Nice is a bland word and hides a multitude of sins. I think Julie is your ‘So British-down-by No. 10 Downing Street’ type politician (such a wonderful metaphor) in an Australian way; she’s appears to be quite a prim person, really. We have few politicians in the big league as human beings.

  2. Russell Goldberg says:

    The Australian community, and the Australian Jewish community in particular, owe a debt of gratitude to all those involved, and particularly Michael Danby for his relentless campaign, in getting Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to announce this significant reversal on Iran. Let’s hope that the Foreign Minister has got the message loud and clear.

    However, I note that Ms Bishop says that the Australian Government is still pursuing discussions with the Iranian government on the repatriation of around 8,000 Iranian asylum seekers. In addition to the naivety in thinking that the Iranian regime can be trusted to treat these people fairly, it remains to be seen how far the Australian Government is prepared to go, and what concessions it is prepared to make, to reach a deal on their repatriation.

  3. Erica Edelman says:

    It would appear the concerns Ms Bishop raised with the Iranian Foreign Minister (about negative comments directed at Israel) haven’t shifted any venomous desire to annihilate their (war-weary) neighbours. It’s all a farcical skit, really. So polite. So polished. So trusting. So British-down-by-No.10 Downing Street. And so insincere. Ms Bishop may be one of the “nicer” politicians about but she certainly is way out of her depth here. Most politicians would be. The Iranian Government (if you could call it that) consults, co-operates, concurs nor is concordant with anyone. Why would they? They are a terrorist regime with a terrorist ambition to rule the globe. Frightening – That’s how I describe the hour.

  4. Leon Poddebsky says:

    No doubt, too, Ms Bishop is well aware of the 1967 UN Security Council Resolution 242.
    That Resolution mandated “secure and recognised boundaries” for Israel.
    Had Israel previously enjoyed such boundaries, that resolution would not have been necessary. Conclusion: ‘the international community” endorsed / mandated improved boundaries for Israel.
    To any one who wants to counter this post with a reference to the proviso in the preamble to that resolution, prohibiting the acquisition of territory by force, I would say:
    1. Israel returned oil-rich and strategically vital Sinai to Egypt because the latter signed a peace agreement.
    2. The Arab world had been the aggressor.
    3. Israel has not annexed Judaea and Samaria. Israel is and always has been prepared to negotiate a compromise, even being prepared to cede much of the Jewish National Home for the sake of peace and in order to avoid the creation of a bi-national state.
    4. At this stage, “Palestinian” Arab society does not yet recognise Jewish national rights in even part of The Land of Israel.

    The Australian Labor Party has announced its intention to act in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and it has done so because it feels free to do so.
    It harbours elements that would perpetrate on the Jewish People the cruellest and most barbaric act since the Shoah, namely, a collaboration with the jihadists who strive tirelessly to deprive the Jewish People of their self-determination and, in the process , to commit another genocide like the attempted one on the Yazidis recently.
    That’s the battlers for the underdog for you.

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