Interesting that some key Australian Jewish organisations are refusing to comment on the Israel/Australia passport scandal (and those who are speaking are so utterly unconvincing. Another own goal, guys). Perhaps they’re waiting for instructions from Jerusalem:
Australian Jewish leaders say evidence of Israel’s alleged involvement in the Hamas assassination plot and forged passport scandal is inconclusive and unproven.
But yesterday they stopped short of criticising the Australian government’s strong response to the controversy, saying any abuse of passports held by Australian citizens was of “deep concern”.
Jewish organisations were reluctant to speak to The Weekend Australian about the scandal that has caused a rift in a normally close relationship between Australia and Israel.
The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council refused to comment as did several other Jewish groups.
The president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Robert Goot said there was no reason to be critical of Israel at this time.
Israel is suspected of sponsoring or condoning the falsification of three Australian passports to support a suspected Mossad team that assassinated a Hamas leader in a Dubai hotel last month.
“A number of allegations have been made but at this stage there are no hard facts or evidence,” MrGoot told The Weekend Australian.
He said there was no proof Israel had behaved improperly.
“We will await the results of the (Australian Federal Police and ASIO) investigation before commenting further on the specific situation,” he said.
“We share the government’s deep concern about the possibility of abuse of Australian passports
in respect of any Australian citizen, and in particular former members of the Australian Jewish community.”
Mr Goot did not believe the controversy had harmed the relationship between the two countries.
The president of the Zionist Federation of Australia, Philip Chester, agreed the relationship would survive the controversy.
“This (controversy) is of concern but I don’t see it as fundamentally altering the relationship because (it) is so well grounded.”
Mr Chester expressed frustration that the media focus was only on Israel’s alleged involvement in the assassination plot and not on the man who was killed.
“At the core of this was a target who was seriously a bad person involved in bad terrorist incidents over many years,” he said.
But he did not condone the misuse of Australian passports and said he understood why the government was investigating.
“We are all waiting to see what emerges before coming to any conclusions,” he said.