Rudd regales crowd with vision for the Middle East

September 14, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Over 800 people registered last week to watch former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, a self-described “passionate supporter of Israel”, speak with NIF Australia executive director Liam Getreu about Israel and the Middle East on Zoom.

Kevin Rudd

The wide-ranging conversation covered the recent UAE deal, annexation, the United Nations, the rise of illiberalism and China’s shifting role in the region. It also considered Australia’s position on support for a two-state solution.

Mandarin-speaking Rudd, who is an expert on China, provided fascinating historical insight into the shifting tensions between China, the Middle East and the US. He spoke of China’s longstanding strategic relationship with Iran which has focused on oil and military matters. This contrasts with the more recent warming of relations between Israel, the Gulf States and even Saudi Arabia. Over the last decade, China has become the major importer of Gulf oil and gas. Rudd identified a deep tension in relations with the US which is the result of traditional national security interests in competition with the new economy.

He described the deep respect the Han Chinese have for Jews, in particular, for the high tech industries in Israel. He predicted a dilemma for Israel asking: “How accommodating will Israeli hi-tech be to the Chinese, particularly [regarding] artificial intelligence, semiconductors and biotechnology?”

Rudd, who has met many times with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the years, warned that it is important to be able to criticise the Israeli government. “You can love Israel and not necessarily be fully in love with the government of the day,” he said emphatically. He questioned the policy of the politically conservative part of the Australian Jewish community in hijacking the debate over Israel. “When you set up that false dichotomy … you start to bleed away a whole lot of mainstream support for Israel,” he warned. Support for Israel has been a bipartisan policy in Australia, Rudd said, but he believes that this support will be fractured if the actions of Israel’s far-right government are considered sacrosanct and not able to be examined in their own right. He added: “I say to those on the far right of the Australian Jewish community, be careful what you wish for.”

Rudd believes the recent deal between Israel and the UAE, many years in the making, is a positive step. He asserted that if Netanyahu had not allowed the Hamas assassination in Dubai to proceed, the normalisation could have happened a decade ago. When asked about the position of the Palestinians in the recent negotiations, he said: “The Emiratis have not sold the Palestinians down the drain. They have saved critical real estate (by putting annexation on hold). If they (the Palestinians) lose the West Bank it’s all over,” he said.

Noting that there won’t be a significant change in Israeli-Palestinian relations while Netanyahu is in power, he urged the Palestinian leadership to continue improving its governance in the West Bank in the interim and to work to build coalition partners in the Knesset.

Adamantly opposed to BDS, Rudd believes that although Netanyahu will “do anything to prevent landing a two-state solution”, it is imperative to work towards this goal, as this was the basis of the establishment of the Jewish state. “The rights of the Palestinians have always been a part of the equation, including for those who voted Yes for partition,” he said.

Rudd is the latest high profile speaker organised by NIF Australia, including Israeli author AB Yehoshua, Knesset member Merav Michaeli, Guardian journalist Jonathan Freedland, former American ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, Haaretz diplomatic correspondent Noa Landau, Israeli actress Neta Riskin and American commentator Peter Beinart.

On 1 October New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman will be speaking with NIF Australia about the upcoming US elections.


9 Responses to “Rudd regales crowd with vision for the Middle East”
  1. Leon Poddebsky says:

    Mr Rudd’s true agenda can be gleaned from his statement that from the Arab “Palestinians” he expects only that they”continue to improve their governance” and seek more support in the Knesset.
    Their governance is becoming more tyrannical by the day.
    Their support in the Knesset comes from the Arab list, which denies Israel’s right to exist.
    No mention by Rudd of the need to stop the antisemitic indoctrination of generations of Arab “Palestinian” children; to stop the glorification of base common criminal murderers of Jewish babies; of the overt rejection by the tyrants of Ramallah of the notion of Jewish self-determination etc etc
    Mr Rudd is an embarrassment to Australia.

  2. Leon Poddebsky says:

    By Rudd’s definition of “far right”, Yitzhak Rabin z”l, would be “far right,” since Rabin explicitly opposed an additional Arab “Palestinian” state (additionally to Jordan), knowing that such a state would be a dagger at Israel’s heart.

    Rudd failed as PM ; he failed in his pathetic pleading for candidacy for the UN top job, so his new “career path” is propagandising to far left extremist Jews like the NIF-New Israel Fund.

  3. Clayton Miller says:

    Nothing quite says “passionate supporter of Israel” like attacking the policies of Israel’s democratically elected Prime Minister.

  4. DAVID SINGER says:

    Your article states:
    “Rudd believes that although Netanyahu will “do anything to prevent landing a two-state solution”, it is imperative to work towards this goal, as this was the basis of the establishment of the Jewish state. “The rights of the Palestinians have always been a part of the equation, including for those who voted Yes for partition,”

    In fact the basis for the two state solution was laid down in the 1922 Mandate for Palestine – when the Jewish people were restricted to reconstituting the Jewish National Home in just 22% of the Mandate territory whilst the Palestinian Arabs were granted the remaining 78% under article 25 of the Mandate – today called Jordan – where not one Jew lives or is allowed to live.

    Jordan obtained its independence in 1946 in the 78% allocated by the Mandate.

    Two years later Israel was created in just 17% of the remaining Mandate territory. Jordan and Egypt seized the remaining 5% only to see it conquered by Israel in 1967.

    Sovereignty in that remaining 5% – Gaza and Judea and Samaria (West Bank) – still remains unallocated between Arabs and Jews.

    Mr Rudd is wrong in stating that Netanyahu will “do anything to prevent landing a two-state solution”

    Mr Netanyahu’s view of the two-state solution was articulated by him at the United Nations on 11 December 1984:
    “Clearly, in Eastern and Western Palestine, there are only two peoples, the Arabs and the Jews. Just as clearly, there are only two states in that area, Jordan and Israel. The Arab State of Jordan, containing some three million Arabs, does not allow a single Jew to live there. It also contains 4/5 of the territory originally allocated by this body’s predecessor, the League of Nations, for the Jewish National Home.

    The other State, Israel, has a population of over four million, of which one sixth is Arab. It contains less than 1/5 of the territory originally allocated to the Jews under the Mandate…It cannot be said, therefore, that the Arabs of Palestine are lacking a state of their own. The demand for a second Palestinian Arab State in Western Palestine, and a 22nd Arab State in the world, is merely the latest attempt to push Israel back into the hopelessly vulnerable armistice lines of 1949.”

    Netanyahu nevertheless has agreed to try and accommodate a second Arab state in former Palestine – in addition to Jordan – as laid out in the Trump Peace Plan. The PLO refuses to negotiate and it is very difficult to see how the PLO can be brought to the negotiating table in view of their total rejection of the Trump Plan.

    Mr Rudd should use any influence he still has to persuade the PLO to negotiate with Israel on the Trump Plan before the PLO becomes totally irrelevant – as the UAE, Bahrain and possibly other Arab States make peace with Israel – leaving the PLO hanging out to dry after it has missed so many opportunities in the last 56 years to end its expressed desire to wipe Israel off the face of map.

    If Mr Rudd can get the PLO to negotiate with Israel he could be in line to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize along with President Trump. That is a challenge that might well appeal to our former Prime Minister.

    • Leon Poddebsky says:

      The way to bring the Arab “Palestinians” back to the negotiating table is to do exactly what Netanyahu and Trump are doing, namely outflanking them, demonstrating to them that they are not the centre of the universe, as “the international community” (including Rudd, Obama et al)has conditioned them to believe that they are.

  5. Leon Poddebsky says:

    Some self-styled “passionate supporters of Israel”do all in their power to undermine Israel’s rights, reputation and very existence.
    One example is Barack Obama, whose major achievements were fraternising with the Muslim Brotherhood and ensuring that the Iranian ayatollah regime would acquire nuclear weapons.
    Can you think of any similar Australian “passionate supporters”?

  6. Leon Poddebsky says:

    Mr Rudd’s threats about “fracturing” bipartisan “support” for Israel if the latter does not obey his dictates is unworthy of a (failed) Australian Prime Minister.
    And they are hilarious, given that his party harbours the likes of the ones who accused Jews of bribing Australian journalists to write positively about Israel, who accused Jews of having inordinate influence (European style ), who called Israel a rogue state, who called war hero Ariel Sharon “an unindicted war criminal”, just to give a small sample of ALP “support.”

    The far left of the Jewish community, such as the so-called New Israel Fund, do Israel no favours. On the contrary. They are reminiscent of the Soviet Union’s Yevsektzya, the Jewish puppet organisation for promoting communism among the Jews.

  7. Leon Poddebsky says:

    Of Mr Rudd’s multitude of errors, one of the glaring ones is that the 1947 UN recommendation to partition western Eretz Yisrael was “the basis for the establishment of the Jewish state.”
    The basis was actually the League of Nations Mandate of 1922, which was violated by the Arab world, whose behaviour was condoned by a policy of appeasement.
    As Britain’s PM, Neville Chamberlain put it, “If we have to offend one side, let us offend the Jews.”
    Could Mr Rudd have said it more elegantly?

  8. Leon Poddebsky says:

    Mr Rudd’s “visions” are irrelevant posturings by a man whose ambition to become head of the UN is quite appropriate, given the nature of that organisation.

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