A Rudd Government – ‘passionately pro-Israel?’

My latest article for Online Opinion is about Australia’s new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his uncritical love of the Jewish state:

Not unlike many Jewish communities around the world, a leader’s credentials on Israel are praised if unconditional support is offered. Howard was loved for this reason – and a majority of Australian Jews have become Liberal voters in the last decade with Israel playing a key role in that decision – but surely true friends offer friendly criticism when required.

Rudd, who has visited Israel twice and said in 2004 that he was “passionately pro-Israel”, sadly believes that appealing to the close to 400,000 Australian Muslims, and becoming “passionately pro-Palestinian”, is political suicide. The Zionist lobby may not have the clout of their American brethren, but they still wield an unfortunate level of intimidation against perceived enemies.

A Rudd Government will talk about pursuing the Road Map, a two-state solution, protecting Israel’s security and demonising Hamas. As a middle-power, Australia’s influence is minimal, but it should use whatever influence it does have to counsel the American administration to pressure the Israelis to cease construction of all settlements, release Palestinian political prisoners and isolate the rejectionists on both sides.

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