Australian Jews condemn Israel’s attack on Gaza

The following article, from Agence France-Presse, is published in today’s Australian:

More than 100 Australian Jews have condemned Israel’s invasion of Gaza, describing the action as “inhuman” and “abominable.”

They include two authors and a former federal minister.

“We are Australian Jews who join thousands in Israel and around the world condemning ongoing Israeli military attacks on Gaza,” the signatories said in a statement today.

“Together with Israeli peace group Gush Shalom, we condemn the current war as ‘inhuman, superfluous’ and ‘abominable.”‘

The group, which includes the Australian environment minister from 1972-1975 Moss Cass, novelists Linda Jaivin and Sara Dowse and Australian Greens politician Ian Cohen, acknowledged Israel’s right to protect itself.

But it said rockets launched from the Palestinian territory into Israel could not be used to justify the “grossly disproportionate military assault on Gaza,” saying Israel had violated a fragile truce with Hamas in November.

The group said the Israeli attacks would not bring about peace.

“On the contrary, the assault on the population of Gaza will only inflame hatred of Jews and of the state of Israel while doing nothing to protect the lives of Israelis,” they said.

“Above all, it will undermine the prospects of joining with peace-seeking Palestinians to negotiate a lasting, just solution to the conflict.”

The signatories called for an immediate end to the attacks on civilians by Palestinians and Israelis.

The statement was rejected by the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council as ill-informed and indifferent to Israel’s suffering.

About 84,000 Australians, accounting for 0.4 percent of the population, identified themselves as Jewish in the 2001 census.