THE sad case of Ben Zygier, the Mossad agent who committed suicide in an Israeli prison in 2010, brings to the fore the strange pathologies in Australian opinion concerning Israel.He's no doubt referring to the likes of Ruth Pollard before going on to deal with Rudd and Carr:
It also underlines how badly the Labor government has gone off course in its conception of Israel, and Israel's place in the world.
Beyond Zygier, let me offer some examples of where Labor has got it wrong on Israel and then suggest the analytical mistake at the root of these missteps. Last year in a cabinet revolt, Julia Gillard was overridden on a key UN vote. Australia was set to vote no to elevating the status of the Palestinian Authority to an observer state at the UN. Carr and Rudd opposed Gillard's position (though Rudd was not a player in this vote). Under the baleful influence of Gareth Evans, a tremendously negative force on contemporary Labor foreign policy who offers only a bureaucratic version of conventional wisdom (and conventional wisdom is often wrong), Canberra changed its vote and abstained. In its own terms, this was a very bad move. There will never be a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute until both sides compromise over an agreement. This UN move, along with many tens of millions of dollars of increased Australian aid to the Palestinians, gives them something for nothing. It helps convince the Palestinian leadership that the way to success doesn't involve compromise and negotiation. Instead the international community will do their job for them. It is a destructive syndrome. ... Israel is Australia's friend and ally. The Labor Party used to know this and care about it. Joining in the popular kicking of Israel is not a sign of moral courage, though it will win plaudits from the usual suspects at the UN and in conventional international relations think tanks.