Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Rambamming of Belinda Neal

Remember federal Labor MP Belinda Neal, of whom the Prime Minister once said, following her Do you know who I am? tantrum at Iguana Joe's in Gosford, "[T]here seems to be a pattern of unacceptable behaviour here"? Remember how he "ordered [her] to attend anger management counselling" given her history of "abusive and even violent" behaviour?" (PM orders anger management for Neal, SMH, 12/6/08)

Well, the "[t]trouble-prone Labor backbencher has apparently... defied Kevin Rudd, revealing that she never took an anger management course after all." (Belinda Neal defies PM's anger course order, Glen Milne, The Sunday Telegraph, 7/2/10)

No... but, you'll be delighted to know, she has recently taken a rambamming:

"Federal MP Belinda Neal has dismissed criticism that Jewish community-sponsored trips to Israel are 'sanitised', saying her recent visit to the country with the Rambam Fellowship program offered her a 'broad range of views' of the conflict. Neal was among a handful of Labor politicians - including her husband and NSW MP John Della Bosca, and former defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon - who last month returned from a tour of the region sponsored by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC). During the 5-day trip, they visited the Old City in Jerusalem, met with Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon and convened with representatives of the Palestinian Authority. They also travelled to the Gush Etzion settlement bloc and Sderot, and took an aerial tour of the north... Neal slammed [claims by former Australian ambassador to Israel Ross Burns who said last April that "such subsidised trips offered a 'sanitised' view of the conflict and possibly tainted Australia's foreign policy outlook"]... ''We're the sort of people who have been in politics for 30 years, like myself, and have a broad understanding of the issues already', Neal, who first visited Israel 26 years ago, told The AJN this week. 'Certainly, we were given the opportunity to visit a whole range of people. It's a complex issue. There is no easy solution or analysis. If that were the case, it would have been resolved a long time ago'. Neal added that even before the trip she had been a strong supporter of Israel. 'The trip certainly made me more informed and more aware of present developments, but I don't think it changed my views', she said." (Neal defends Israel visits, The Australian Jewish News, 5/2/10)

Now there's nothing much I can add to this, except perhaps...

Run for your lives!

PS: The following appeared on the back page of today's SMH: "[I]t seems the troubled MP [who is facing a challenge to her preselection] does have some friends left, among them the Labor MP for Melbourne Ports, Michael Danby, who sprang to Neal's defence on Monday night. 'I appeal to the fair members of the press gallery not to join what appears to be a shark attack on Belinda Neal', he told Parliament." (Neal fights off media sharks) Typically, the Herald gives readers no clue whatever as to why Labor's Minister for Israel would be speaking up on Neal's behalf.

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