Why the Zionist lobby has fewer friends by the day (and the old don’t realise)

Discussion of Australia’s Zionist lobby is far and few between though yesterday’s Crikey was a notable exception.

Does the Israel lobby seriously believe that by backing every single Zionist position they’re doing Israel a favour? Death by a thousand cuts and oddly satisfying to watch:

It’s one thing for the Israel lobby to jack up over the Government expelling an Israeli diplomat for Mossad’s blatant identity theft in its assassination campaign against Hamas. It’s another for Julie Bishop, who if you’ve forgotten is the Coalition’s foreign affairs shadow, to go beyond that and conjure up an Arab plot.

“The government is keen to curry favour within the Arab community,” said Bishop yesterday. “The Arab community have made it quite clear to Mr Rudd in writing that unless the Australian government showed a more negative attitude towards Israel they would not be able to count on their vote for Mr Rudd’s quest for a seat on the Security Council.”

There you go. Those crafty Arabs. One wonders what they had over Gordon Brown when he expelled a Mossad officer over the same business. Although I liked Bishop’s “in writing” reference. Getting things “in writing” is very important for the Liberals now.

Those who think turfing out a diplomat is somehow an “overreaction” should explain exactly what the best way is to convey to Israel how seriously Australia regards this matter. The alternative course, presumably, is to let Israel get away with identity fraud and undermining the integrity of Australia’s passport system. Or, better yet, cooperate in Israel’s program of extra-judicial killing. Three Australian citizens were targeted by and used by an arm of the Israeli Government. What sort of government doesn’t stand up for its people when they’re arbitrarily targeted by a foreign government?

You can bet if the Iranians or the North Koreans pulled the same stunt the media outcry and demands for action would still be echoing.

The contempt of the Israeli Government for Australia and the other countries targeted in this identity fraud operation is demonstrated by the fact that they didn’t dare use American passports for this assassination, for fear of offending their most powerful ally. But they were happy to use passports from the UK, Ireland, Europe and Australia.

The reflexive reaction of the local Israel lobby was predictable, especially from the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council. I’ve long assumed Colin Rubinstein isn’t actually a living, breathing AIJAC executive, merely a piece of software that channels the Tel Aviv line on every issue. That’s why we heard nothing from him back when the story broke in February — and certainly not any suggestion that Israel had acted in any way inappropriately. And yesterday, AIJAC actually attacked Abu Dhabi for having the temerity to investigate the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

All this –Israel’s persistence in refusing to admit it has erred, the criticism of any Government that dares to respond to its transgressions — encapsulates exactly why Israel and the Israel lobby make it so hard for those of us inclined to support it. For those of us who accept Israel’s right to defend itself, and accept that as a democracy surrounded by brutal dictatorships it has a special call on Western support, and recognise that much of the criticism directed at it is motivated by a blatant double standard, usually from the Western liberals, it’s infuriating to watch Rubenstein and his cronies, and their cheerleaders in politics and the media, treat us like mugs.

Their insistence that Israel has done nothing wrong, or should be allowed to get away with what it has done, is patronising in the extreme and exactly the sort of double standard they complain of when they’re on the receiving end.

Worse yet is Julie Bishop’s willingness to engage in some pretty crass Islamophobia by insisting it’s all an Arab plot — part of an emerging pattern of Islamophobia from this Opposition.

If the Israel lobby wants to treat us like fools, it shouldn’t complain about Western double standards about Israel or the lack of sufficiently vigorous support from the West. They’ll get exactly what they’ve earnt, which is nothing.

Suffice to say, the Arab press haven’t exactly covered the story in depth.

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