Why should Australia gain in the UN by ignoring Israeli criminality?

This “exclusive” in today’s Murdoch Australian (also featured in the Melbourne Age) is a wake-up call to the Australian government. Blindly supporting Israel and mouthing platitudes about a two-state solution, while remaining silent on the siege of Gaza and the growing occupation, comes with a price:

Kevin Rudd’s bid for a UN Security Council seat has been dealt a severe blow after a warning from the Arab League that it is less likely to succeed because of Australia’s support for Israel.

Hashem Yousseff, chief of cabinet for Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa, told The Australian Canberra kept “bad company” at the UN, where it often opposes anti-Israel resolutions in alliance with the US, Canada and small Pacific island states.

Australia’s support for Israel, he said, was “one of the elements that will be taken into consideration” by the 22-member Arab League in deciding whether to support Australia’s bid for a seat on the UN Security Council for the 2013-14 term.

Mr Yousseff said the Arab nations would consider how different candidates affected their interests. “For us, the Arab-Israeli issue is an important part of the consideration.”

Canberra has invested huge political, diplomatic and financial resources in its bid for one of 10 non-permanent Security Council seats.

But Mr Yousseff’s comments indicate it will be difficult for Australia to out-poll the European nations, which are regularly more critical of Israel.

Australia has not held a seat on the Security Council for more than 20 years.

Mr Rudd has cast his foreign policy as consisting of three pillars – the US alliance, engagement with Asia and leadership in multilateral organisations. A Security Council seat would be the crowning achievement of the multilateral pillar.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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