‘Greens out of touch’

Lee Rhiannon.

A GREENS Senate motion that called on the federal government to halt military cooperation and military trade with Israel demonstrates “how naive and out of touch the Greens are with the realities of life in the Middle East”.

That was the view Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Robert Goot expressed to The AJN this week about last Wednesday’s motion, which was defeated.

Moved by Senators Lee Rhiannon and Scott Ludlam, it also asked the government to “work for an end to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, and end the eight-year blockade of Gaza”.

“They call for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, but not for a cessation by Palestinians of incitement, stabbings, bombings and car-rammings against Israelis, nor for a return to negotiations,” Goot told The AJN.

“The Greens senators also call for an end to the blockade of Gaza, but not for an end to the smuggling of weapons, munitions and terrorists into Gaza, which is the reason for the blockade, and the reason why it is legal under international law.

“If the advice of Senators Ludlam and Rhiannon were heeded, it would almost certainly precipitate a power struggle, if not a civil war between Fatah, Hamas and even more extreme Islamist groups, followed by a further upsurge of terrorist actions against Israelis.

“The end result would be dire for Israelis and utterly ruinous for the Palestinians.”

Goot concluded: “As Howard Jacobson once observed, people are seldom more dangerous than when they are overcome with a sense of their own good intentions.”

Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) executive director Colin Rubenstein said the Greens have once again demonstrated that “they will waste no opportunity” to have a negative input. “The resolution reflected little more than shallow, misinformed and unhelpful rhetoric,” he said.

Zionist Federation of Australia president Danny Lamm said the motion “was treated with the ridicule it deserved”.

The motion also took aim at UIA guest speaker Benny Gantz, who was IDF chief of general staff during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.

“According to the United Nations, Operation Protective Edge resulted in the deaths of over 2000 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians, and destroyed over 19,000 homes,” it said.