Vale Barry Cohen

December 19, 2017 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Anton Block, President of the ECAJ, and Peter Wertheim, Executive Director of the ECAJ remember Barry Cohen who passed away on December 18 at the age of 82.

Barry Cohen Photo: Henry Benjamin

“Barry Cohen was a towering figure in federal politics and the Australian Labor Party who commanded immense respect on both sides of politics.

He will long be remembered for his pioneering work as Minister for the Environment, his ready wit, which he used with great effect in his many speeches, books and articles, and his popularity with his constituency, which saw him elected and successively re-elected as the Federal member for Robertson over a period of 21 years. He was deeply committed to the principles of democracy and the rule of law and used his position in public life to advocate for universal human rights including the struggle against apartheid, support for Aboriginal equality, and combatting antisemitism.  He was also a proud Jew.

During the campaign to liberate Soviet Jewry, Mr Cohen was an important facilitator between the Jewish community and the federal government, whose support helped to ensure that the issue received national and international attention.

Barry Cohen never wavered in his commitment to the Jewish people and the State of Israel and, in recent years, lamented the shift away from traditional support for Israel in some sections of the ALP. Barry Cohen will leave a legacy of excellence, of unerring commitment to the betterment of our society, and a deep love of Australia and the Jewish people. We extend our sincerest sympathies to Mr Cohen’s wife, Rae, their three sons, grandchildren, daughter-in-law and friends.

May they be comforted among the mourners of Zion. We wish them long life.”

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