Alex Mitchell is a journalist with Sydney’s Sun Herald (he reviewed My Israel Question here.)
Last Sunday, he posed an interesting question for our values-obsessed Federal Government:
The recent invasion of Lebanon by the Israeli army placed a spotlight on participation by Australian citizens. Bondi man Asaf Namer, a 27 year-old sergeant in the Israeli army, was killed in action, and Guy Spiegelman, nephew of Chief Justice Jim Spiegelman and a captain in the Israeli reserves, acted as propagandist for the army. Amnesty International, to which Attorney-General Philip “the Death’s Head” Ruddock belongs, has accused the Israeli army of war crimes, and Hezbollah as well.
Since Prime Minister John Howard and Treasurer Peter Costello want to define citizenship and invite everyone to swear adherence to “Australian values”, what is the situation of Australians who serve in the Israeli army? Are the values of Australia compatible with the values of Israel? Do Australians support firing rockets and shells containing, in total, more than a million anti-personnel cluster bomblets at enemy villages or imposing collective punishment on civilian populations in the name of self-defence against terrorism? And if it is OK for Australians to travel abroad to support the Israeli army, why not make it a level playing field for other Australians to join foreign armies to fight occupation and state terror? Only asking.
After all, what do Australians really think of Aussie “values”?