Green Party Stirs Anti-Israel Election Acrimony

August 12, 2016 by Michael Danby
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Twice, once before the election and once after the election the Green Party attempted to minimise and apologise for its anti-Israel politics, particularly during the recent federal election.

greens-adThree mainstream Jewish intellectuals Michael Borowick, Russell Goldberg and Professor Doug Kirsner responded to accusations of playing the “Israel card” against the Greens in an attempt to hold my seat. Borowick, Goldberg and Kirsner point out that “this fails to mention to mention altogether the Greens Stephanie Hodgins-May’s decision to boycott the Beth Weizmann candidates’ debate ostensibly because of the involvement of Zionism Victoria.  It was that act which outraged many members of the Jewish community and put the Greens attitude to Israel and the Jewish community well and truly in the spotlight”.

These Jewish critics of the Greens argued that the boycott of the AJN/Zionism Victoria forum became a central issue of the Melbourne Ports campaign and further reporting of the Green snub to the local Jewish community (which constitutes more than twenty percent of the hundred thousand constituents). The central focus of the campaign was the reporting of the Green Party’s snub to the Jewish community which was on the front page of a local Jewish News Paper.

Borowick who is the assistant secretary of the ACTU, Russel Goldberg a Melbourne lawyer and Doug Kirsner a emeritus professor of philosophy responded to the anti-Israel apologia of the Green Political Party “…somehow it was Michael Danby’s fault on Election Day that Greens received some impolite comments from a small number of voters when handing out how-to-vote cards on Election Day.

“Not only did the Greens kick a spectacular own goal with Hodgins-May’s boycott of the debate, but the statements and actions of Greens’ Parliamentarians and Greens policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict target Israel in a way that is anathema to the views of the vast bulk of the Jewish community”.

The three expose the Greens claim that their “on the Israeli-Palestinian issue is almost identical to Labor’s”.

By contrast the Kirsner, Goldberg, Borowick team show: “The Greens’ key resolution on this issue was passed by its national conference in November 2015.  The resolution “Notes … The importance of recognition of the state of Palestine, alongside the state of Israel, as a contribution to securing a negotiated two state solution, based on 4 June 1967 boundaries with both states sharing Jerusalem as their capital”.  It then states that the party formally recognises the State of Palestine”.

“So, the Greens formally recognise “the State of Palestine” – which of course Labor does not.  But more than that, the policy is logically incoherent.  The Greens suggest they want a two state solution, but then assert that there are already two states.  And they want such a solution to be “negotiated”, yet they unilaterally recognise “the State of Palestine” without negotiation.”

Borowick, Goldberg and Kirsner explain the claims that the Greens do not support the BDS campaign against Israel. ‘Though in March this year, Greens Senators Scott Ludlam and Lee Rhiannon unsuccessfully put a motion to the Australian Senate calling on the Australian Government to halt military cooperation and military trade with Israel”.

Michael Danby

Michael Danby

“Senator Rhiannon has historically been a supporter of BDS and she is a notorious advocate against Israel.  In May this year she used her Parliamentary printing allowance to print and authorise posters to promote a pro-Palestinian anti-Israel rally in Sydney organised by the Palestine Action Group.  The posters were headed “Protest Against Israeli Apartheid” and “Commemorating Al Nakba 68 years on”.  In defending her actions and the criticism of her in the Daily Telegraph, she published a statement on the Greens website dated 16 May 2016 saying – “The [Daily Telegraph] article incorrectly states that use of the word ‘apartheid’ in relation to Israel is antithetical to Greens policy”.  Thus, by these words she asserts that using the expression ‘apartheid’ to describe Israel is consistent with Greens policy”.

“Other notable utterances by Greens Parliamentarians include Senator Scott Ludlam referring to Israel as a “rogue state” and Greens MP Adam Bandt, as Acting Leader, calling Israeli actions in Operation Protective Edge “a massacre”, and arguing that the Australian government “cannot stand idly by while the Israeli government bombs schools”.

“Whilst Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale commenced his leadership appearing to be a moderate he quickly changed his tune.  In May 2015 the AJN asked him whether Abbas should recognise Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.  Di Natale replied: “Of course.  How can you have a two-state solution when you refuse to acknowledge the right of one state to exist?  It’s patently nonsense”.  However, under pressure, he backed down and two weeks later issued a “clarification” in which his spokesperson stated that Di Natale was “concerned about the way in which his comments were reported” and that while he supports a two-state solution, “the establishment of a ‘Jewish state’ (as opposed to an ‘Israeli state’) is not conducive to that outcome”. For Di Natale’s information, fundamental documents including the 1947 UN Partition Resolution and the 1948 Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel specifically refer to the establishment of a “Jewish state”.

And as an indication of Di Natale’s broader world view, in an address to the Lowy Institute in May this year he said that Australia should distance itself from the US alliance because of “the horrific consequences of US foreign policy”.

The Green political party accuses me engaging in divisive politics. I am not responsible for the Greens’ policies nor for the Hodgkin-May’s election boycott. Along with many others in the Jewish community, my dear friends agued that the Greens can’t be trusted on Israel. I agree.

Michael Danby  is Federal Labor Member for Melbourne Ports, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Arts


20 Responses to “Green Party Stirs Anti-Israel Election Acrimony”
  1. Liat Kirby-Nagar says:

    Loyalty is much more complex than passing tests for citizenship and coming under the spell of slogans such as ‘One People, One Nation, One Destiny’ (it’s somewhat disconcerting to learn that we need this banner displayed in 2001 after it’s inception in 1901! – the increased nationalism via jingoism due to the Howard years was probably the influence there). It is, of course, more understandable, and fitting, to introduce the slogan at federation.

    I agree there must be assimilation of peoples who choose to live in Australia, and the utmost respect must be paid to the laws of the country and its ideals while those laws and ideals are just and equitable. However, that does not mean that those who were born elsewhere or have strong ties to other places in the world must sever their attachment to and concern for those places. That is an unrealistic and unnecessary expectation and/or stipulation to make. You say, ‘even the UK immigrants’ – why are they any more special than other immigrants? I know you’re implying they’re not, but ‘even’ inserts a note of difference here. UK immigrants are intensely connected to their countries of origin, no matter how many years in Australia, but it doesn’t stop them from being worthwhile Australian citizens. The same goes for the Italians and Greeks who came here in so many numbers post Second World War.

    Assimilation, too, does not mean leaving your own culture behind. Indeed, the rich diversity of cultures has contributed so much to make Australia what it is today. Without that it might have won the crown for most boring place on earth, despite its safety and opportunities. So let’s realise that assimilation doesn’t mean rigidity of thought and heart, all flowing in one direction only.

    There is nothing wrong at all with dual citizenship while a citizen is participating in society, contributing his/her bit, and living as productive a life as possible. It is allowed by Australian law, as it should be. Rhetoric and slogans have nothing to do with loyalty and extreme notion of nationalism can produce bigotry, aggression and ultimately war.

  2. Liat Kirby-Nagar says:

    My hometown, too, is Melbourne, although I am currently living in Brisbane. I only mention the fervent participation of Greens politicians in the Nakba day rally in Sydney because anybody who votes for a Greens candidate in any State should bear in mind their quite extreme anti-Israel policy as a Party. That factually incorrect pamphlets promulgating hatred and divisiveness against Israel should be printed, authorised by Lee Rhiannon and the Greens, and paid for with monies out of federal government funds meant for communicating with the electorate, is something that should be taken account of by all voters in all electorates. It makes the friendliness and support shown ‘Steph’ by Jews in the Melbourne Ports electorate embarrassing and inappropriate. She is more than aware of Greens policy on Israel and discussed it at length when interviewed. And, as I said, declined public debate in the electorate due to the ‘political’ (her word) inclusion of Zionist Victoria in the sponsorship nomenclature. That was her reason, not who else might or might not have been invited to participate.

    So, in the Greens’ eyes, Zionist Victoria as an organisation is political, but the Palestinian rally on ‘Nakba Day’ with printed material produced and distributed by the Greens isn’t?

    Wake up Jewish Greens supporters in Melbourne Ports.

  3. Liat Kirby-Nagar says:

    Well, Adrian, if a real Australian is one who only has loyalty to Australia and no other country, the migrant-Australian population in its full diversity would be found wanting, for as much as they love and appreciate Australia they also have well ensconced in their hearts the countries they came from, viz Greece, Italy, et al. And that is a perfectly normal thing. Also on your reckoning, historically speaking, all those true blue Aussies who fought for King and country, volunteering in enthusiasm for the ‘home’ country England in World War I, were also lacking in loyalty. Perhaps the only real Australians are the Indigenous people.

    • Adrian Jackson says:

      Once a migrant takes out citizenship as an Australian, after passing the various loyalty tests, they to are real Australians having abandoned the old country however if they cling to the old countries citizenship they are not a serious or real Australian, even the UK immigrants.

      On federation in 1901 the official Commonwealth slogan was “One People, One Nation, One Destiny”. It was displayed over St Kilda Rd, near the Arts Centre, in 2001 too. Its called assimilation.

  4. Liat Kirby-Nagar says:

    Sounds like you have Michael Danby well and truly on your radar, Adrian! His gaffs could have been worse, surely, over those twenty years. You’re clutching at straws.
    Simon Tatz, it’s divisive, offensive politics the Greens are playing, with their tax-payer funded, pro-Palestinian leaflets (factually inaccurate) distributed at the Sydney Nakba gathering on a Sunday a few months ago, and candidate ‘Steph’ pulling out of that public debate pre-election because of the taint of Zionism Vic.

    Neither of you have to support Israel, or like Israel for that matter. You could, however, try to rise a little above your bias to become less petty.

    • Adrian Jackson says:

      Yes I definitely have Michael Danby on my radar or as an former infantry officer “in my sights” politically is more apt, as my lazy local MHR and it is not bias its just fact. Incidentally I am in Melbourne not Sydney.

      Also I praise the two former ALP Melbourne Ports MHRs on 12 Aug 16 below so it not bias, and as I was not living in Melbourne Ports as a voter before 1980 I cant comment on local MHR further back.

      I am aware the candidate Steph withdrew from a forum but only three candidates (Lab, Lib, Grn) were invited by the organizers. This is hardly representative of the eight candidate on Melbourne Ports who stood in 2016.

      The forum was really a vehicle to try and promote Michael Danby in my view.

      This forgetfulness, to invite all candidates, happened at some other forums including one at the Anglican Church in Acland St, St Kilda, a few election ago too. I remember, as I attended that one, only four (Lab, Lib, Grn, Dem) of eight candidate were invited.

      Lets face it most attendee at any pre election forums are supporters of candidates anyway and the media mostly do not even attend them.

  5. Simon Tatz says:

    As a Jew and a Greens member who supported Steph, Mr Danby’s comments are deplorable. Melbourne Ports voters were not voting on Israel, they were election a local member, and given that only about 28% actually voted for Danby, it seems he wasn’t considered the most appropriate, and relied on Greens preferences to retain his seat.

    Danby likes to cite other Greens in other jurisdictions about Israel, yet says nothing about his former factional colleague Bob Carr, who’s ugly comments about the so-called ‘Jewish lobby’ were far more offensive, coming from Labor’s Foreign Affairs minister. And his views hardly align with the Labor Left, whose comments are very similar to those he attributes to some Greens.

    Let’s be honest here, Danby has no influence over Labor’s foreign policy and he surely cannot support Labor’s platform that East Jerusalem in ‘occupied territory’. His attack on the Greens was a desperate play by a local member whose support drops each election. Playing the Israel card might have got him returned, but it was divisive, offensive politics that created animosity.

    • Adrian Jackson says:

      Well said Simon.

      I for the first time voted 1 for Steph (Greens) but put Michael (Labor) last so Owen (Lib) would eventually end up with my vote after the preference distribution.

  6. Adrian Jackson says:

    Michael Danby has been involved in some PR mishaps over the last 20 years.

    A few elections ago he was pictured in MCV (a Gay newspaper) standing next to a well know St Kilda cabaret transsexual in a full page photo in the back page. At the next election the identical photo was re-published in MCV but unfortunately the poor woman has died a year earlier but Michael had not checked with her obviously. This disaster was highlighted by some young bloke as St Kilda Town Hall at a meet the candidates forum wich was very embarrassing for Mr Danby and I witnesses it.

    Then there was the fridge magnet calendar with school holidays shown, unfortunately they were NSW holidays (different dates) not Victoria’s.

    In another bit of PR ANZAC Day had a date problem and other religious holidays were added to the calendar but Easter Sunday was omitted.

    Attention to detail can be problem with Mr Danby.

  7. Liat Kirby-Nagar says:

    Adrian Jackson, what is a ‘real Australian’?
    Michael Barnett, what a completely unrealistic suggestion re Danby giving up his seat to a Liberal candidate! Think of it this way: such irony, and perhaps karma, that the circumstances prevailing had the Greens helping a Jewish Australian who supports Israel winning the seat.

    • Adrian Jackson says:

      A real Australian is a citizen who only has loyalty to Australia and no other nation.

  8. Michael Barnett says:

    Michael Danby was re-elected on the back of the Greens vote. If he had an ounce of integrity he would have rejected their preferences and let the Liberal candidate take his seat.

  9. SamT says:

    Is this “michael danby” anAustralian citizen?

  10. Adrian Jackson says:

    Michael Danby’s adult life before parliament was uneventful. He attending Monash University but I don’t think he completed his degree.

    He spent time in the Australian Army Reserve training as an officer but never put this train to practice by joining an ARes field unit after this training in Australia nor in the IDF.

    He managed his mothers art gallery in Malvern, worked as a right wing trade union official and was editor of a small circulation Hebrew newspaper. He has always been helped into a job but mastered few of them.

  11. Adrian Jackson says:

    As a voter in Melbourne Ports since 1980 I put Danby last on the ballot paper as in 20 years as MHR has not produced anything worthwhile for constituents, in fact parts of the electorate is going backward and much if this is happening in his doorstep were he has his electorate office in Fitzroy St, St Kilda like the economic downturn, crime, drugs, street prostitution to name a few.

    His now deceased predecessors Frank Cream and Clyde Holding were excellent ALP men but Danby is a fake Labour man who got pre-selected by branch staking ALP branches, particularly the Caulfield Branch, which were from 30 to 300 member overnight over 20 years ago. When Julian Hill (recently elected in 2016 to the federal seat of Bruce) tried to start a young Labour branch in Ports Melbourne Danby and his crew attended the meeting and instead of helping he voted to close the meeting and the branch was not allowed to form. This is the Danby style of democracy

    I have never seen Danby door knocking during elections the 20 years and have never seen him in shopping strips were i live in Middle Park nor Albert Park and Port Melbourne either. He is the invisible man. As the demography of the electorate changes, particularly in the bayside suburbs, his winning margin grows smaller but he will probably retire on a huge pension after the next election as he is over 60 now.

    • john nemesh says:

      Michael Danby has been an outstanding bastion of moderate social democracy.

      he has never shirked in the face of vitriolic, sometimes racist and other

      times jew hatred activities.

      He has loyally supported and expounded the social justice principles of the

      Australian Labor Party.

      And no I am not a member .

      Mr Jackson is ofcourse entitled to his opinion, although for a bed and

      breakfast proprieter who has to my knowledge been more of a keyboard

      warrior rather than an activist for for the underprivileged, perhaps

      a little more credit could have been shown to the hard work of Michael


  12. john nemesh says:

    The Greens are the enemy of the Jewish community.


    Mr Danby has been an advocate for Australians’ social justice as well as ensuring that Jew/Israel haters and bigots such as Rhiannon and Ludlum and the hypanated female Green candidate against Mr Danby, do not have the final say!

    • Eleonora Mostert says:

      Why do you think they’re called “The Green Party”? It’s because they are rotting… fungus set in since the creation of the “Party”! And the decay continues it’s nothing less than putrid, it stinks to high heaven.

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