Albanese cautiously welcomed as Labor leader

New Labor leader Anthony Albanese. Photo: AAP Image/Joel Carrett

THE Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) has cautiously welcomed Anthony Albanese as federal Labor leader after he was elected unopposed on Monday.

A founder of the federal Parliamentary Friends of Palestine, Albanese describes himself as a strong advocate of justice for the Palestinians.

Albanese has previously said he is “very critical of a lot of Israel’s policies”, but he also played a major role in denouncing Marrickville Council’s failed attempt to adopt the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel as policy in 2011, which he described to The AJN at the time as a “divisive and counterproductive policy”.

“I am a strong supporter of a negotiated two-state solution that allows for peace and security for both Israel and a Palestinian state,” Albanese previously told The AJN. “Any lasting resolution to the Middle East conflict cannot be at the expense of either Palestinians or Israelis.”

Congratulating Albanese on the appointment, ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim said he will bring “formidable talent” to the new role.

“Anthony Albanese has had a good relationship with the Jewish community, although his record on Israel has been somewhat mixed,” Wertheim noted.

“Despite the close, historic links between the Labor parties in the UK and Australia, we would welcome a statement from the new Federal Opposition leadership making it clear that the ALP totally rejects the antisemitism wracking its UK counterpart, and has no intention of going down the same foreign and defence policy path as that taken by UK Labour under Jeremy Corbyn.”

More coverage in Thursday’s AJN.