NSW Labor to be asked to ban ALP politicians from participating in Israel study tours

January 20, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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In a highly contentious proposal, the forthcoming State Conference of the NSW ALP is being asked to ban ALP personnel from visiting Israel through organised and supported programs.
“This is not only unprecedented, it is an outrageous infringement of an individual’s right to travel and learn about the world”, Australia Israel Labor Dialogue NSW Convenor, Greg Holland, said.

“Our great Labor Party has never imposed such a controlling and totalitarian imposition on it’s people. The freedom to choose one’s own travel plans is a fundamental human right.”

“People want to visit the Region for a whole range of reasons including to understand innovation, trade union bilateral relations, Labor Party dialogue, Gay Rights, Multiculturalism, and co-existence. It is the individual’s decision whether or not to accept a subsidy to make a visit to Israel and Palestine”. Holland said. “Our organisation proudly helps people get to the other side of the world to visit Ramallah as well as Jerusalem, in order to learn and listen first hand at what is going on. If people choose to come or not, that is their fundamental right. Let’s call this move for what it is – fear from those who want to decide for others what they must think. How very un-Australian”.

“Whoever wishes to learn about what the Israelis and Palestinians think and say themselves about the conflict, and then make up their own mind, they are always welcome to join us on our Study Tours. We aren’t afraid”, Holland said.

Dr Colin Rubenstein is Executive Director of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council AIJAC, which sends many  study visit  groups to Israel each year including Federal and State politicians, as part of its Rambam program.

He told J-Wire: “This is part of a larger disingenuous campaign to stop members of the ALP from learning about the genuine complexities of the Middle East from people who prefer ignorance and simplistic slogans to informed debate. All our groups to the Middle East spend time with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and are allowed to draw their own conclusions, as any participant will attest. Hopefully, sensible ALP members will see through and reject this discriminatory proposal directed at preventing ALP members from becoming more knowledgeable and informed about a key international issue. ”

He added: “The attacks on individuals who seek to become better educated on issues of public policy hardly deserve to be dignified with a response”,

The campaign against ALP members learning more about Israel, through participation in visits which have financial support from other Australians, is disingenuous and dishonest”, he added.

It is self-evident that there are bullies within the ALP who don’t want their colleagues to have the opportunity to bring facts and informed viewpoints to the debate, and it is good to note that the ALP is recommending delegates reject the boycott proposed”, he concluded.

AIJAC’s Director of International and of Community Affairs, Jeremy Jones, added: “The proposal is offensive – it insults the intelligence and integrity of Party members who want to make first hand observations of a complex society, it promotes ignorance as a virtue and it seeks to exploit anti-Jewish bigotry.

In the context of internal Australian politics no rational person could consider the move – which is opposed by the Party leadership – as anything other than anti-democratic thuggery.”

The trips to Israel, described by upper house MP Shaoquett Moselmane as being ‘indoctrinating’ are organised by both AIJAC and the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.


2 Responses to “NSW Labor to be asked to ban ALP politicians from participating in Israel study tours”
  1. Mike Gold says:

    I don’t support this policy shift by Foley et al, but it does strike me as ironic that Holland would cite it as “an outrageous infringement of an individual’s right to travel” when, really, it is these trips’ near total lack of honest engagement with the infringement of Palestinians’ rights that has prompted this policy to be proposed in the first place.

    If Holland thinks the infringement of rights by this policy is bad, he really should take a trip to the settlement in Hebron next time he’s there and check out the “sterile zone” the IDF has created.

  2. David Adler says:

    Let’s not be so PC as to avoid identifying a major contributing cause – increasing Islamic influence in Labor Party branches.

    There are 19 Labor seats identified as having significant Muslim voting % and at least one mosque has stated it can control the local preselection.

    A political shift against Israel is an inevitable consequence of rising Muslim influence in the party processes and this looms large in the Greens and is increasing substantially in Labor.

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