Local leaders condemn violence

Border Police officers scuffle with a Palestinian protester as they detain him near Damascus Gate outside Jerusalem’s Old City.

ZIONIST Federation of Australia president Danny Lamm will travel to Israel this week in defiance of the current deadly wave of Palestinian terrorism to attend the World Zionist Congress.

He is one of a number of Australians who will travel to Israel, with Zionist Council of NSW president Richard Balkin already in Jerusalem.

Lamm told The AJN: “Travelling now is a matter of personal choice but I certainly feel that showing solidarity with Israel is apposite.

“I am not alone in making this visit. We have a strong Australian contingent heading to the World Zionist Congress.”

He added: “I recall a similar situation in June 2002, when in Israel for similar meetings at the height of the [Second] Intifada. While I never felt personally unsafe, I did feel how important it was for us to support Israelis by being present at that time.

“I did not reconsider going then and I do not reconsider going now.”

Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) executive director Colin Rubenstein called the mounting wave of attacks “morally reprehensible”.

“What is particularly worrying and deplorable is the sectarian incitement from leaders of the Palestinian Authority, as well as Hamas and other groups … with inflammatory but blatantly false claims about supposed Israeli plans to threaten the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said.

Rubenstein added that much of the Australian media “continues to insist on repeating as credible the false Palestinian claims about the Temple Mount, or focusing on the supposedly ‘disproportionate’ number of Palestinian casualties”.

“This is not only a negative reflection on their professionalism, but a contributor to prolonging the violence by serving the ends of those who are provoking it,” he said.

“Particularly obscene is the use of Al Jazeera sources on ABC News radio referring to the wave of ‘resistance’, a profound abrogation of editorial responsibility.”

Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Robert Goot said: “Sections of the media and some human rights organisations have disgraced themselves by misrepresenting and criticising Israel’s policies and actions in response to the murderous assault on its citizens, while saying little if anything to condemn the assaults themselves.”

In a joint statement, B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich and B’nai B’rith International executive vice-president Dan Mariaschin said the lack of outcry against the wave of terror was disturbing.

“If a rash of terror broke out in any other democratic nation, most of the international community would be appalled,” they said.

Meanwhile, the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) has launched a campaign, “#Speakout4Israel”, to raise awareness and support during the current crisis.

AUJS national political affairs director Julian Kowal said: “The campaign allows members to educate through our resource database, participate in a viral social media campaign using the hashtag, or advocate by receiving help from AUJS to write a letter to an MP.”