Australia-Israel Labor Dialogue Launched

February 18, 2015 by Judy Singer
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In her second Sydney appearance, ex MK Einat Wilf shared a platform with past Queensland Premier Peter Beattie before an audience of Labor and Union stalwarts at Trades Hall.

The two former Labor parliamentarians appeared together to launch the Australia-Israel Labor Dialogue, a new organisation which aims to foster dialogue and fraternal links between the Australian and Israeli Labor parties


Dr Einat Wilf at Trades Hall

Beattie acknowledged what he called an “annoying lack of sensible dialogue in the ALP”, and suggested those Labor people who “are not anti-Israel should stand up and make the case for dialogue” It was a strong though cautious speech from Beattie in these eggshell times, looking towards a creative future rather than dwelling on the blame-games of the past. Referring to the separate paths of the Parliamentary Friends of Israel and the Parliamentary Friends of Palestine, he said “Labor didn’t have to choose” but Laborites should rather see themselves as “friends with a solution”. Beattie argued for a future of creative partnership with Israel which he cited as the world’s best model of the innovative high-tech based entrepreneurial spirit that he had hoped to foster with his “Smart State” reforms while Premier of Queensland.

In his speech Beattie gave pride of place to “six perspectives to appeal to a new generation of Labor moderates”  from a widely circulated  recent article “Labor must not turn its back on Israel” by former Union NSW Secretary, Michael Easson. Easson was present, along with the Left’s Peter Baldwin, whose eloquent refutation of claims by outspoken communal anti-Zionist, Peter Slezak, has also been doing the rounds.

Quoting the founding Zionist slogan “If you will it, it is no dream”, Einat Wilf underlined the collectivism that is at the heart of both the Zionist and the Labor ideals: the need for collective mobilization and solidarity to make “impossible dreams” of a better world, possible.

Wilf refuted the contention amongst Israel’s delegitimisers that the Jews are not a “real people”, but a religion at best, and a fabricated story concocted by evil Zionists intent on stealing Arab lands at worst.

She asked, “Is there a more established story in history than the attachment of the Jewish people to their land? A story repeated, hoped for, dreamt for, how can that be denied?”. Perhaps once she has become more acquainted with Aboriginal history, she will in future say, “in Abrahamic history”. But the message must surely resonate with Labor progressives who stand behind the sentiment that “Australia, was, is and always will be traditional Aboriginal land” every time they repeat the “Acknowledgment of Country”.

Wilf argued that both the Jewish and the Arab people are indigenous to the land, and they and the world must acknowledge that both have been shaped by the land and their attachment to it. She concluded that “both have a right to return and settle anywhere. But given their different histories, sense of peoplehood and nationhood, they must agree together that for the sake of peace they will share the land as two states for two peoples with minority equality and democracy for all.”



3 Responses to “Australia-Israel Labor Dialogue Launched”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    Einat Wilf might have been restating facts ‘we all know’, Schneur Naji, however they need repeating because they are fast becoming lost in the new mythology being accepted as ‘history’ by pro-Palestinian minded people everywhere. I believe it’s crucial to get these kinds of statements out there and really push them, because in a wider sense we are very much behind with the propaganda war being waged by Palestinians, other Arabs and misinformed, ignorant supporters of the Palestinian cause internationally.

    These ‘motherhood’ statements, as you put it, are not going to be doing any good tucked away with you and like-minded people in the know in your community. Having a go at the southern states and left wing Trade Unionists in Queensland merely shows your conservatism and your personal politics, which should be a separate issue to the more important one of better support for Israel and better understanding of its history. Read some Australian history, without left wing Trade Unionists less well off people wouldn’t have had a chance of achieving any kind of equity.
    Don’t let your different political persuasion blind you to that.

    Why on earth do you have a problem with Rabbi Levi Wolf ‘entertaining’ her at the Central Synagogue? Because she’s a woman or because she’s a woman whose politics you decry? Ridiculous, as well as small-minded. Rabbi Levi Wolf is a breath of fresh air in decidedly smelly times.

  2. Rhod Gates says:

    Schneur, what is she saying that was incorrect?


    She didn’t claim the Arab states have accepted the Jewish state, but are resorting to non-violent means more in a delgitimisation campaign, etc, that needs more counter-focus.

  3. Schneur Naji says:

    sounds like left wing old fashion propaganda.
    We all know there is a large Arab population living in the State of Israel, who have full political rights and access to everything the State has to offer.
    When the Arab World accepts Israel as the Jewish State, two states with emerge.
    Einat Wilf and similar folk repeat motherhood statements which we all know.
    Maybe it is fresh material to left wing trade unionists in Queensland or secular Jewish audiences in the southern states.
    I do not understand how Rabbi Wolf at the Central Synagogue could entertain her, shame on you Levi.
    Do you think the Rebbe would have been happy with such a decision?.

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