After muttering darkly about the "controversial pedigree" of Greens NSW lower house candidates, Byrne and Parker yesterday (see my last post), The Australian today set the dogs on Greens' senator-elect Lee Rhiannon, as she "intensifies her support for a radical boycott of Israel." (Brown told to rein in anti-Israel senator, Joe Kelly & Lauren Wilson)
Trade Minister Craig Emerson yapped that "[c]onfirmation by senator-elect Rhiannon of this disgusting policy is reprehensible." And added, for good measure: "Good on the people of Marrickville for rejecting this Greens extremism, and I am confidant that the rest of Australia will too."
You might just remember Craig's memorable contribution on the ABC's Q&A of February 14. No? OK, so sit back then and allow the man to awe you with his expertise on matters Middle Eastern: "[I]t's such a frustrating story saga, the whole saga of peace in the Middle East, and I think Egypt after the Six Day War was the first country to say, well, we need a peace treaty. I think Jordan did fairly quickly after that and I think everyone here, I hope so, would want to see not only the maintenance of that peace but the spreading of peace through the Middle East... I'll just finish with this: watching in a restaurant in Jerusalem, where a whole lot of little girls and boys, they were about 15, had a birthday party and someone walked in with bombs strapped to them and just blew them all up, when you see that sort of thing - obviously this was many years later, you realise why people really do yearn for peace."
Now, how enlightening was that!
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd growled that "the Gillard government did not condone or support any boycotts or sanctions against the Jewish state."
An Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce spokesman snarled that "boycotts on Israeli goods could prevent access to potentially groundbreaking water-saving technology and telecommunications switches that may be picked up by the National Broadband Network."
Opposition leader Tony Abbott barked madly, "The Coalition completely rejects any campaign designed to weaken Israel and [I] can't understand why a supposed environmental party are involved in this nonsense." And added: "Given the Greens are Labor's political bedfellows, I call on the Prime Minister to pull her alliance partner into line."
And, revealing their inner rabid canine, journalists Kelly and Wilson, bared their fangs with "Other Liberal MPs expressed concern that Ms Rhiannon's position would infect the federal Greens platform and contaminate government policy."
By which they meant, of course, Liberal senator Mitch Fifield (see my 26/3/11 post Israel's Man in the Australian Senate). He whimpered that he was "particularly concerned that Lee Rhiannon, who is going to become a member of the governing Labor/Greens alliance federally, is going to bring those views into this alliance." And Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop, who snapped, "Ms Rhiannon's comments were 'extreme', 'highly prejudicial' and 'deeply troubling'." (Never forget, however, that Bishop's the only pooch in the pack who has Israel's number. After all, didn't she once blurt out that "Israel could do anything"? True! (See my 14/8/10 post Bishop: 'Israel Could Do Anything')) She also howled that "the Prime Minister must guarantee the Greens will not influence Labor's foreign policy in the same way as they have influenced Labor's policy on a carbon tax."
Finally, an Israeli embassy spokesman bristled with "Those who are behind the policy of singling out Israel through a boycott are clearly showing their true colours. The whole boycott program strengthens the radicals in a lot of ways. A lot of people who support the boycotts have never read the BDS charter which states Israel should be just a one state country. It does not support negotiations." Which, quite coincidentally, had adjacent pooch, Jeremy Jones of the Australia/Israel Jewish Affairs Council, bristling similarly that "It is an extreme policy and it goes against any purported interest in reconciliation, peace or justice. The only possible impact (of a BDS) is to strengthen the hand of extremists on all sides of the equation."
Only in Murdoch's mouthpiece...
Did I say in? Would you believe that all of this was actually on the front page?