“The [Prime Minister John] Howard-[Foreign Minister Alexander] Downer duumvirate in Australian foreign policy has changed our position on the Middle East at the UN in a way that is wholly remarkable, not only independent but positively brave, utterly politically incorrect and undoubtedly right in principle; and, amazingly, is meeting with success.
“Australia has always been a strong friend of Israel. But for most of the past few decades it has taken an understandable, if less than inspiring, refuge in abstaining from most of the plethora of routinely one-sided anti-Israel resolutions and actions at the UN.”
As, once again, Israel is asked by the Palestinians to “not jeopardise the peace plan“, Sheridan focuses solely on the Israelis, the major US client state in the Middle East and recipient of large financial and military support.
The Palestinians are mentioned in passing – “of course the human rights of Palestinians should be respected and the UN should play a role in this” – but no mention of the occupation, no mention of Gaza still being surrounded on sea, land and air and no mention of Jewish-only roads in the occupied territories.
Sheridan sees Australia’s role as supporting Israel because it’s strategically important – and alongside the US – rather than actually examining the behaviour of Israel itself in the West Bank or (until recently) Gaza.
Melbourne-based academic Scott Burchill has written about former Labor leader Mark Latham and the media’s response to his views on the US alliance. Sheridan, like much of the establishment press, will simply not allow a political or media figure to openly challenge the status quo on foreign affairs. Blind support for Israel is one of those cornerstones.
“The near hysterical media reaction to revelations that former Labor leader Mark Latham had serious doubts about the US alliance was more than a mobilisation of bipartisan support for the relationship amongst Australia’s political elites. It was also an expression of anger by alliance cheerleaders, especially those in the Murdoch press, that someone who retained such discordant views had not been filtered out before rising to such lofty political heights.”