Murdoch gives space in Australia to defend Israeli terrorism

Just in case readers of Rupert Murdoch’s Australian broadsheet were unclear whether the Jewish state should be able to murder with impunity, the following two pieces appear today. One truly wonders how much more desperate these Zionists can become. Tel Aviv nukes Gaza and the apologists will be lining up to find excuses.

How is the Zionist lobby looking to the wider community today?

Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan:

The Rudd Government has overreacted and made a bad mistake in expelling an Israeli diplomat over the Dubai passports affair.

Its action has already dismayed and divided the government’s supporters. Michael Danby, the Labor member for Melbourne Ports, and the chairman of the parliamentary sub-committee on foreign affairs, immediately condemned the expulsion.

“I do not agree with the decision,” Mr Danby said.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith cited Britain, France, Germany and Ireland in justifying his overreaction.

Yet of these only the British have expelled an Israeli diplomat and that was the action of a dying government desperately casting around for minority support.

Surely the Rudd government is more mature and worldly than the most desperate days of the dying Gordon Brown interregnum?

Australia should not ape its former masters in London in this but embrace some of the sophistication of Berlin or Paris, neither of which is regarded as a hive of unreasonable pro-Israel bias.

This is a very poor, very feeble decision by the government and it will probably pay a political price.

Last night the government was desperately trying to reassure friends of Israel in Australia, but this gratuitous and needless action will license a new round of anti-Israel activism and outrage throughout Australia.

The government has also opened a clear partisan divide on this issue. In an interview with The Australian some weeks ago, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott called on the government not to expel an Israeli diplomat.

It is now crystal clear that the Abbott opposition has a deeper level of support for the Israel relationship than the Rudd government.

The government was under no obligation to take this action. It had already condemned the apparent misuse of Australian passports in the strongest possible terms. It had switched its vote not to oppose a resolution at the United Nations based on the wildly anti-Israel Goldstone report on Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

It had used extravagant language to condemn Israeli home unit construction in East Jerusalem. It could easily have issued a further condemnation yesterday without deliberately choosing the most extreme action available to it.

Australians ought to ask themselves about double standards here. China imprisons an Australian citizen and there is no suggestion of expelling a Chinese diplomat. The Iranians defy countless binding rulings on nuclear proliferation and there is no question of the expulsion of an Iranian diplomat. But the Israelis are accused of misusing Australian passports and the maximum diplomatic action is taken.

The hypocrisy exists at other levels as well.

Well-informed sources tell me that Australian agencies have used foreign passports.

The truth is that in the grey world of espionage many things happen which good friends do not use to embarrass each other.

The tone and content of Mr Smith’s statement yesterday are also perplexing. For some reason he refers to the killing of the Hamas terrorist as murder, as though that were the end of the moral equation.

Hamas is committed to murderous terrorism directed at killing Israeli civilians. It is a proscribed terrorist organisation.

Australian troops in Afghanistan have targeted al-Qa’ida leaders personally and directly in missions to kill these leaders. In Mr Smith’s terms, the Diggers must also be guilty of murder.

The government has mishandled this matter from the start, and the Keystone Kops escapades of the Australian Federal Police in Israel on their fact-finding mission were not the worst of it.

Whether this bad decision was the sign of government weakness in the face of the bureaucracy, or yet another move in the pathetic effort to court Arab votes for our meaningless bid for a UN Security Council seat, or just a bad misjudgment by Mr Smith which Kevin Rudd ratified, it is a poor and misjudged move against a close friend which made a mistakein exceptionally difficult circumstances.

Author Alan Gold:

The expulsion of a diplomat from Israel’s Canberra embassy is a significant over-reaction to Mossad’s alleged involvement in the January assassination of a Hamas terrorist. What happened is well known: Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, an arms purchaser and fixer for the terrorist organisation Hamas, was executed in a Dubai hotel by a large group of assassins using forged passports from several countries. Dubai authorities have pointed the finger at Israel’s intelligence agency.

The issue that caused Foreign Minister Stephen Smith to order the expulsion wasn’t the assassination but the forgery of four Australian passports, which government agencies investigating the affair claim was almost certainly carried out by Israel.

Australia is following Britain, which expelled an Israeli diplomat in March. Yet Smith has already called in Yuval Rotem, Israel’s ambassador, for a dressing down, as well as changing the way Australia traditionally votes concerning Israel in the UN.

The expulsion of a diplomat is one of the most serious moves a nation can take against another nation. So why did Smith need to go so far, having already made his displeasure known in Jerusalem?

The US has targeted Osama bin Laden and other terrorists in pre-emptive action and Israel, like any nation, has the inalienable right to defend itself from those determined to do it harm.

While nobody can condone the abuse of a nation’s passports, it is surely rank hypocrisy on Australia’s part to take such overt action against a diplomat because his country is doing what virtually every other country does. Britain has an entire unit under the control of MI6 whose job it is to forge passports for its security operatives. The US and most European nations have the same. Can Smith put his hand on his heart and claim that no Australian spy has used a forged passport?

Israel and Australia have a long and close relationship. Smith was obviously hurt when he believed that a friendly nation abused our passport security. But Israel faces threats to its existence every day. If Israel was behind the assassination of al-Mabhouh, its failure was being identified, but its success was ridding the world of a terrorist. A diplomatic slap on the wrist was called for. The expulsion of a diplomat is an over-reaction that will do neither country any good.

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