Words fail. A nation that occupies millions of Palestinians has values like us? Well, I guess Australia is fond of backing American-led occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan so perhaps it’s true. The man has form.
Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott gave a strong endorsement of Israel’s right to defend itself during a speech at the Central Synagogue last Friday night.
Appearing as a special guest as part of Central’s ongoing “Studio Central” youth program, Abbott spoke about the contribution Jewish Australians have made to our nation, before noting the similarities between Australia and Israel.
“In so many ways, [Israel is] a country so much like Australia, a liberal, pluralist democracy,” he said, “A beacon of freedom and hope in a part of the world which has so little freedom and hope.”
He added that Australians “can hardly begin to comprehend” the existential threat Israelis live under. “It is so easy for us in Australia to get moral qualms, if you like, when we read about Israeli actions in – on the West Bank for instance – or Israeli involvement in Lebanon.”
“And yet, we are not threatened in the way Israel was and is, and if we were threatened in the way Israel was and is, I am sure that we would take actions just as strong in our own defence.
“When Israel is fighting for its very life, well, as far as I’m concerned, Australians are Israelis. We are all Israelis in those circumstances.”