Australian Ambassador Naftali Tamir has apparently put his foot in his mouth here.
The statements attributed to him have not yet been verified and there are indications he might have been misquoted. However, the report has already given some of Israel's enemies ammunition with which to move into attack mode, not just on the beleagured diplomat but against the Jewish State and its people.
The remarks attributed to Ambassador Tamir are unacceptable; it is grossly offensive to suggest that our country's engagement with Asia could in any way be based on race. If he has been correctly quoted, he should apologise and resign his post.
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recalled Ambassador Tamir as part of its investigation into the matter and has made it clear its disassociation with the sentiments attributed to him. Further, it has indicated that if the statement was verified there would be no return to "business as usual".
We await the outcome of the investigation (expected on Thursday) with interest.