Leaders welcome UN Security Council seat

October 19, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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Australian Jewish community leaders have welcomed the UN vote giving Australia a seat on the Security Council for two years.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Dr Danny Lamm said in a joint statement with Executive Director Peter Wertheim said they were “delighted” with Australia’s win.

Dr Danny Lamm

“We congratulate Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Foreign Minister Bob Carr, Ambassador Gary Quinlan, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the entire Australian government on this wonderful achievement. As a middle-ranking power that punches above its weight in the wide range of regional and international obligations it assumes, Australia fully deserves to have a seat on the UN Security Council, the supreme decision-making body for issues of international peace and security”, they said.

“The magnitude of the vote in Australia’s favour has refuted decisively the opinions of those commentators who had said that the bid for a Security Council seat was compromised by the strength of Australia’s support for the US alliance and for Israel. The fact that Australia won in the first round of voting and, contrary to most expectations, came in well ahead of both its European competitors, Finland and Luxembourg, demonstrates that Australia does not need to weaken its adherence to its long-standing principles and allegiances in order to win international respect and support.”

Philip Chester

Philip Chester, President, Zionist Federation of Australia added: “The Zionist Federation of Australia congratulates the Australian government on their success in gaining a seat on the UN Security Council today. Australia should now have a greater opportunity, as a respected middle ranking power, to play a constructive role in trying to resolve international disputes.
We are fortunate that the Australian parliament has reaffirmed clear, bipartisan support for a negotiated, two state solution for Israel and the Palestinians, without preconditions. We hope that Australia will maintain this strong commitment, discouraging the moves by the Palestinians at the UN for unilateral recognition.
The voice of Australia, articulating our humanitarian and democratic values, will have important resonance in the Security Council and other world forums, so that suffering and injustice around the world may be relieved.”

Dr Colin Rubenstein

…and from Dr Colin Rubenstein, executive director of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council. The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) today welcomed the election of Australia to a two-year temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council in New York overnight, and congratulated the Australian Government on achieving this outcome. 

AIJAC National Chairman Mark Leibler stated, “AIJAC welcomes a successful end to Australia’s long-fought efforts to gain a temporary seat on the UN Security Council. We also congratulate the Australian Government  – especially Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Foreign Minister Bob Carr, his deputy Richard Marles, and all the professionals who worked diligently to achieve this very happy outcome so emphatically. Our success is well-deserved – as a middle-level, principled, democratic nation and good global citizen, we won the respect and ultimately the support of others internationally, on our own merits and without compromising our support for Israel.” 

AIJAC Editorial Chairman Dr. Colin Rubenstein added: “Australia’s success at the UN is particularly welcome, because as a responsible, democratic international actor, Australia now has the opportunity to add much-needed value to the problematic proceedings of that often disappointing organisation over the next two years. First and foremost must be efforts to reform the dysfunctional, wasteful, often even corrupt processes and institutions of the UN so  that it can adequately tackle the tasks that its founders intended. Part of these efforts should be an attempt to address the systematic, entrenched and obsessive biases against Israel which have developed at the world body, which are not only discriminatory, but impede  hopes for a viable and lasting negotiated two-state peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

”And of course”, Dr. Rubenstein continued, “Australia’s new role on the UN Security Council will enable Canberra  to have a positive and responsible influence over key international challenges, including the escalating crisis over Iran’s illegal nuclear program, the horrific bloodshed in Syria, Afghanistan , the tense stand-offs in the South China Sea, the Euro crisis and other vital issues which have such global import and  the potential to impact Australia and Australians .

”Particularly gratifying, as Prime Minister Gillard demonstrated once again in her recent UN speech by effectively calling on the Palestinians to return  to direct negotiations with Israel,  was the fact that this important success was achieved without diminishing Australia’s tradition of strong support for Israel, or Australia’s bipartisan, realistic and well-informed policies for seeking to promote a genuine, negotiated two-state peace outcome. This Government has demonstrated that, contrary to the unfounded claims of critics, principled support for Israel and for authentic peace can and will prevail over short-sighted and misconceived opportunism,” Dr. Rubenstein concluded.

From within the political arena, Federal Labor MP Michael Danby wished Australia “Mazel-Tov, In a prepared statement he said:

Australia’s win of a United Nations Security Council seat is a testament that we need not compromise our egalitarian values in order to attain global recognition of our economic and democratic significance, Michael Danby MP, Chairman of the Joint Select Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, announced today.

In communicating his best wishes to Australia’s delegation in New York, Mr Danby warmly congratulated Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Deputy Foreign Minister, Richard Marles, who cast Australia’s vote.

“Australia’s emphatic win demonstrates that the rest of the world now recognises that our nation, as the world’s twelfth largest economy and a member of the G20, is one that can – and should – take its rightful place amongst other world powers as an advocate of human rights and an open economy,” Mr Danby said.

Michael Danby

“Our victory in securing 140 of a possible 193 votes is vindication of the Gillard government’s position that Australia does not have to compromise our democratic values to win this coveted position.

“Never did Australia concede or compromise on our support for Israel, as many proposed we do, in order to win the bid,” Mr Danby emphasised.

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, with the solid support of the government, has continually rejected blandishments that Australia should abstain from voting on, or indeed support, the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.

“Time and time again, at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), at the Rio Environment Summit, and at other important junctures in recent history, the Gillard government has rejected compromising Australia’s support for the state of Israel and her people,” Mr Danby added.

“We continue to support, as we have done since the partition of British mandated Palestine, a two-state solution. But as the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, reiterated, this will come as a result of direct negotiations amongst the parties, particularly the Israeli and Palestinian peoples,” Mr Danby noted with satisfaction.

“Australia’s uncompromising position on the Middle East is in marked contrast to former Foreign Minister, Gareth Evans’ unsuccessful bid for a UN seat in the mid-90’s; a campaign that unwisely sought to win Australia’s bid with the faulty strategy of sacrificing our Middle East votes.”


3 Responses to “Leaders welcome UN Security Council seat”
  1. Rita says:

    Why would Jewish community leaders welcome this UN vote?

  2. Michael says:

    How will Carr have to payback the African and Arab countries who voted for us
    Carrs government has already downgraded our voting on Israel matters from voting along side US supporting Israel to abstaining
    Carr has made promises
    to the very pushy Palestinian lobby in AustraliaWhat are those promises ?
    On other matters on the security council does Carr believe he can influence the Chinese and Russians where the US , French and UK can’t
    Syria a perfect example
    From Australias perspective the whole
    Thing is one bug ego trip for Rudd and Carr and from Israel’s point if view Carrs Arabist views and what the Arab lobby is expecting in return there is no good news anything else
    Is just
    Wishfull thinking .


  3. Rita says:

    “Leaders welcome UN Security Council seat”


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