Liberal Democrats behind Jewish community…but disappointed

October 17, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Liberal Democrats candidate for the Wentworth by-election, Sam Gunning, has reinforced the party’s commitment to Sydney’s Jewish community today but concedes it is disappointing the Liberal Democrats have been excluded from two key forums in the lead up to this Saturday’s poll.

Sam Gunning

“It was disappointing to see that the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies did not extend an invitation to the Liberal Democrats for this evening’s forum in Woollahra,” Mr Gunning said.

“We want the Jewish community of Wentworth to know that the Liberal Democrats are the strongest supporters of Israel in Federal Parliament.

“The Liberal Democrats have actively pursued concerns about Australian foreign aid going to support the Palestinian Authority and United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and being used to fund or incite terrorism.

“We support immediate recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, while Liberal Democrats Senator Leyonhjelm has raised and voted consistently in favour of the Jewish community’s interests on these issues in Federal Parliament. Meanwhile, the government has simply sat on the fence and taken no action.”

Both Senator Leyonhjelm and the Liberal Democrats candidate for Wentworth, Samuel Gunning, who is currently a councillor on North Sydney Council, have visited Israel this year and have a great respect for the Jewish people and their challenges in the region.

“We are no doubt the most vocal and consistent friend of the Jewish community and Israel among the candidates in this by-election, including Dave Sharma, who despite having been ambassador to Israel has failed to raise concerns about foreign aid or advocate Jerusalem as Israel’s true capital,” Mr Gunning said.

“We have a proven track record of keeping the government honest in terms of representing the Jewish community’s and Israel’s interests in Australian politics.”

Senator Eric Abetz

The Liberal-National Government’s announcement yesterday that it will consider moving the Australian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and review the Iran nuclear deal has been strongly backed by Liberal Senator and Chair of the Australia-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group Eric Abetz.

Senator Abetz has been a long-time advocate of both moving the Australian embassy in Israel and reconsidering Australia’s support for the Iran nuclear deal in circumstances where there is evidence that they have not held up their end of the deal.

“Israel is the only free and democratic nation in the Middle East and I am pleased that the Australian Government is strongly considering recognising its sovereignty and self-determination by moving the Australian Embassy to Jerusalem,” Senator Abetz said.

“This very strong decision is something that a number of my Parliamentary colleagues and I have advocated in favour of for some time and will send a strong signal around the world about our support for western democratic values and our close friendship with the state of Israel.”

“As West Jerusalem is not subject to final status negotiations which means that a move of our Embassy would not present a barrier or hindrance to peace.”

“Further, I am very pleased that the Government will take steps to review the Iran nuclear deal in the face of the very clear evidence that they have been in breach of the deal. I have always contended that the deal was questionable and the evidence that has been presented is very convincing.”

“The Government’s willingness to work with our Five Eyes partner, the United States, in seeking to ensure Iran is better behaved is welcome.”

“I appreciate the Prime Minister’s willingness to engage with my colleagues and I on these important issues and trust today’s exciting announcement will be universally welcomed,” Senator Abetz concluded.


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