ZFA thanks NSW Labor…and ECAJ welcomes “pleasing development”

February 16, 2016 by Emily Gian
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Following the NSW Labor Conference over the weekend, Zionist Federation of Australia President Dr. Danny Lamm has thanked the Party for their resolution relating to Israel and the Palestinians. Dr Lamm said, “We commend the NSW Labor Party for encouraging members to further their understanding of both Israelis and Palestinians.”

Dr Danny Lamm

Dr Danny Lamm

In the lead-up to the conference, 39 motions critical of Israel were received by the NSW Labor Party, compared with 17 on all other countries and foreign policy topics. One of those was a motion to ban Labor MPs, officials and Young Labor members from accepting subsidised trips to Israel.

When questioned on the issue, Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said, “I support my MPs exercising their own common sense and views. I trust Labor representatives, I don’t see the need to start giving them travel instructions”. Federal Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tanya Plibersek also weighed in on the debate stating, “I support people travelling to inform themselves and I think on most of these trips most people spend a significant amount of time both in Israel and particularly visiting Ramallah”.

Dr. Lamm gave credit to Shorten and Plibersek for their remarks, and also thanked the rational-minded people within the party for their part in the resolution such as AILD NSW Convenor Greg Holland, who called the proposed motion to impose travel bans on Party members wanting to visit Israel a “totalitarian move by those in the Party who are anti-Israel.”

“The final draft of the resolution shows that common sense has prevailed and is a repudiation of the hardline anti-Israel sentiment,” Dr Lamm concluded.

In a joint statement the president of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry Robert Goot and executive director Peter Wertheim said: “The “resolution on Israel-Palestine” passed by the NSW State Labor Conference on February 14, which “encourages all party members visiting the region for the purpose of understanding the conflict to spend substantial time in both Israel and Palestine”, reflects precisely what has occurred for many years when MPs and others have participated in the Jewish community’s sponsored trips to Israel.

Robert Goot

Robert Goot

What began as a proposal to ban these trips altogether, and was subsequently watered down to a proposal requiring all ALP MPs on such trips to spend

Peter Wertheim

Peter Wertheim

equivalent time” in Israel and the territories, has ended up as a rejection of both of those proposals and an endorsement of the Jewish community’s long-established practice for sponsored trips to the region.

On the more substantive issues concerning the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the NSW ALP endorsed the 2015 Federal conference resolution which, for all its flaws, was far less problematical than the resolution passed by the NSW ALP conference in 2014. Significantly all 28 of the anti-Israel motions that had been orchestrated through various branches were rejected outright.

All in all, this is a pleasing development. The attempt to move Labor into a more and more hostile posture towards Israel this time suffered a firm rebuff.

This was made possible by the efforts of the many friends of Israel and the Jewish community within the ALP to each of whom we are very thankful.

The Australian Jewish community can also be proud of the role played by its community organisations, especially the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Australia Israel Labor Dialogue.


One Response to “ZFA thanks NSW Labor…and ECAJ welcomes “pleasing development””
  1. Paul Winter says:

    Yes, the results are pleasing and yes, the NSWJBD, Aust. Isr. Labour Dialogue & other Jewish groups deserve congratulations, but what is being done about the Israel haters in the Labour Party?

    Nobody questions that Labour Party branches are independent, but no branch would put forward a resolution banning Muslim migration to Australia or take a stand against the LGBTIQ demands for same sex marriage, so the problem is that there is a segment of the Labour movement which is hostile to the Jewish state or to Jews.

    What is the leadership of the Jewish community or of the Labour Party doing to excise these opportunistic haters who are rotting the core of the progressive movement?

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