Thursday, March 18, 2010

Portrait of a Labor Zionist

Bill Shorten is the federal Labor MP for the seat of Maribyrnong and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities & Children's Services. Before that he was the National Secretary of the right-wing Australian Workers Union, a position now filled by his protege Paul Howes, whose zeal for Israel has moved him to lead an anti-BDS push in the Australian trade union movement called TULIP (see my 29/9/09 post ACTU: Missing in Action on Palestine) and applaud the work of Israeli death squads (see my 7/3/10 post The ACTU's Sarah Palin). A charming young fellow!

Shorten was a mate of the late Zionist cardboard tycoon and convicted price-fixer Dick Pratt, who donated part of his ill-gotten gains to both major parties, as well as to Israeli 'charities'. Needless to say Shorten has made the ritual pilgrimage to Israel - as an Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) Rambam Fellow in 2005. (See Briefing from Rambam Fellows,, 18/4/05)

Lately, Shorten has overseen the introduction (from May 1 next year) of minimum access requirements for new or renovated public buildings to cater for people with disabilities, declaring that "the laws would help end years of 'practical apartheid' that excluded people with disabilities. 'If you couldn't enter a building because of your skin colour or gender, there'd be a human outcry', he said." (Disabled 'apartheid' to end, Yuko Narashima, Sydney Morning Herald, 15/3/10)

So Shorten is anti-apartheid, but not anti-apartheid Israel. He's got the job of looking after Australians with disabilities, yet supports the state which wounds and maims Palestinians on a routine basis, making them the world's most disabled people on a per capita basis. (See Palestinian statistics: Palestine's disabled the highest in the world,*, 4/12/09)

[*The Arabic website of ash-Sharq al-Awsat (The Middle East). The subheading reads, in my translation, "[Disabled Palestinians] number approximately 150,000. And Israel's last war on Gaza has added another 500."]

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