Australia’s a remarkable country. Cambodian, Yugoslav and Vietnamese Australians who once shot at each other now live in the same city, sometimes the same suburb. The same goes for Arab and Jewish Australians. There are Jewish fighters from 1948 who successfully established the state of Israel and there are Palestinian refugees living in Sydney who were driven from their homes.
But you should have heard the groans of disapproval when Kevin Rudd’s paean of praise for Israel’s 60 years of democracy in Federal Parliament on March 12 was mentioned two weekends ago at the Arab Film Festival in Parramatta. In this swinging federal seat, the largely Arab-Australian audience was not impressed.
I suspect it wasn’t disapproval of Rudd’s perceived romance with Israel (they’re used to that with John Howard and Bob Hawke). It was the seeming insensitivity of a new Prime Minister so intent on collecting brownie points.