THE AUSTRALIAN: Labor’s UN move stokes Jewish anger 29Nov12 November 29, 2012

by Brendan Nicholson   –   The Australian    -   29 November 2012

A KEY Jewish community group says it is very disappointed with the Gillard government’s decision to abstain from the vote to grant UN observer status for a Palestinian state.

“We think Australia could have taken a stronger stand,” said Mark Leibler, chairman of the Australia, Israel and Jewish Affairs Council.

“We also know there was a huge push from certain quarters that Australia should, in fact, vote for this resolution.”

Mr Leibler said it was clear that pressure came from within the Labor Party.

“We’re well aware of that. We know where that move came from.”

Mr Leibler said Australia could have opposed the Palestinian move to help emphasise the importance of resolving the conflict through direct negotiations rather than by taking unilateral action at the UN.

“Those actions are basically designed to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court, which is not exactly known as a supporter of Israel.”

Mr Leibler said the UN infrastructure was focused adversely on Israel.

“Every organ of the UN is infected with bias when it comes to Israel,” he said.

Mr Leibler said he disagreed strongly with the view of Foreign Minister Bob Carr that Israel had nothing to be concerned about from the international court.

The Sydney Peace Foundation, set up by Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, said those in Labor who persuaded the Prime Minister to change her position on Australia’s vote from opposition to abstention should be congratulated.

Foundation chairman Stuart Rees said Australia’s campaign to secure a seat on the UN Security Council was built, in part, on a pledge not to appear as a lackey of the US.

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