Some relatively sensible comment - for the mainstream media - from the diplomatic editor of The Age:-
"...the very notion of Australia hauling [Ahmadinejad] off to front a criminal tribunal was just a stunt. Labor hatched the scheme in opposition, got a few headlines for its trouble, then allowed a respectable time in office to pass before dumping the idea. The whole episode is illustrative [of the extent of influence, quite contrary to the national interest, of the pro-Israel lobby on LibLab] because it shows governments need not be hostage to bad policy. And to reinforce the lesson, another bad policy went by the wayside last weekend, but one more substantive and not of Labor's making. The issue is how Australia votes on key resolutions put before the United Nations relating to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory [sic]. It is a complex and delicate area - hardly a surprise when dealing with this conflict. Each year a series of resolutions are put to the General Assembly, broadly demanding Israel fairly treat the Palestinians. And for years, the vast majority of the world, including Australia, has mostly voted in favour. Only Israel voted against all of them, the US against most, as did a few of its client states including the US Marshall Islands, Palau and Micronesia. To put that in proper perspective, it usually added up to a majority of about 160 countries standing against 6 or 8. Australia's position changed in 2003 when the Howard government switched tack, flushed as it was with the neo-conservative zeal of the Iraq war and annoyed by a critical finding in the International Court of Justice against the wall Israel has built to fence off the West Bank. So for the past 5 years, Australia has been offside with the international community. Remarkably, this meant Australia abstained from a call for Israel, the occupying power, to abide by the Geneva Convention for the protection of civilians, leaving us in pretty miserable company. Australia has now gone back to the majority, and voted in favour of applying the Geneva Conventions. Australia also dropped its opposition to a call for Israel to cease building settlements in occupied territory. This is a risky move for the Government, but an important one. Upsetting Israel is the obvious danger, annoying some in Australia's Jewish community is another - not to mention being seen to abandon the US, Australia's principal ally... Israel was apparently well aware of Australia's intentions before the vote and has no great concerns over the shift. So, why make the change? For one thing, it is the right approach. Australia can be a friend to Israel and at the same time firmly impress upon Tel Aviv the need to abide by international standards. But there is also another interest at play - the Government's campaign for a UN Security Council seat in 2013-14. During the failed bid in 1996, Australia lost a crucial bloc of votes from Islamic states, and informed circles aware of the events at the time blame the then new Howard government for taking a hopelessly pro-Israel stance. Having kept up its opposition to the UN resolution on the Geneva Conventions, the Government would have no chance of winning a seat at the table. The switch should not be interpreted as a compromise. If anything, Australia's former position compromised our international standing." (How to reverse bad policy: The Government has successfully changed tack on Iran & Israel, Daniel Flitton, The Age, 14/11/08)
This was followed by the following hilarious whine on the letters page (15/11/08), from a Robert Friedman of Caulfield North, that inadvertently sends the message that, yes, up to this change of vote, Australia has in fact been Israel's lapdog: "It is important to note that of the '160-odd countries' that voted for the resolutions, about 60 are members of either the Organisation of Islamic States or the Arab League or both. [Well, that invalidates their vote, now doesn't it?] Where Australia used to act on its own conscience [Gimme a break!], we now appear to have fallen in line to enhance our chances of a temporary seat on the Security Council. Still lapdogs. Just a new master."
And speaking of the Ruddies' decision "annoying some in Australia's Jewish community," it looks as though, at least for the moment, their self-styled leaders are gritting their teeth and holding their fire":
Labor's Member for Israel, Michael Danby, has reportedly called the decision a "mistake," while the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) and the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) are "disappointed and concerned." (UN vote switch sparks debate, The Australian Jewish News, 14/11/08). The AJN's editorial construed it as "a bit of tough love that never hurt anyone," but warned that "should Australia change its voting position once again, 'the gloves will be off', according to one Australian Jewish leader." Watch your back, Kevvie, there's a Rhambo out there!
The bleeding obvious in all of this is that none of the above have the courage of their Zionist convictions. None of them, to my knowledge, have come out and said clearly what they really think - in the manner, for example, of Nadia Matar, "the combative leader of the radical Jewish settler movement Women in Green, [who] has a message for Kevin Rudd. 'The incredible audacity of you', she shouts from her home in Efrat, a Jewish settlement... in the West Bank... 'Who are you to tell me I am not allowed to build here, in my homeland?... Jews are allowed to build in France, in New York, in Australia, but I am not allowed to build here? This is my land... Be very careful', Mrs Matar warned of any further attempts by Australia to put pressure on the Israeli settler movement. 'Don't force us to do something. Not because I need your help - I have God on my side. Just for your own sake, because you might be next'." (Israeli anger that burns brightly, Jason Koutsoukis, Sydney Morning Herald, 15/11/08)
Mrs Matar, who hails originally from Belgium, is surely the authentic voice of Zionism here. No mere grumbling that Kevvie's change of tack is mistaken/disappointing/concerning for her. Why then aren't our local Zionist 'leaders' shouting from the rooftops their support for a Greater Israel from the Mediterranean to the Jordan - if not the Euphrates (Zionism ain't what it used to be)? Why aren't they proudly and publicly defending their courageous settler brethren in the West Bank? Why aren't they coming right out and saying, Geneva Conventions be damned, latter-day Amalekites have no rights in our land? Why aren't they lashing Rudd as the latest reincarnation of Neville Chamberlain? Why, oh why, are they so coy about unleashing their inner Zionist settlers?