On the speech of The Hon. Luke Foley, Labor Opposition leader in the NSW Legislative Council, arising out of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel (PFoI) "study mission" 'debate' of February 28:
Clearly the PFoI's 'ideas' man, Foley has obviously been lying awake at night trying drumming up a rationale for just why it is that NSW state politicians are falling over themselves to line up behind Israel. After all, hadn't Labor Left Pope Anthony (Albanese) once declared that "Foreign policy is a fair way from the parameters of the role of Marrickville Council."**
"Why would a group of State parliamentarians undertake a study mission to a foreign country, in this case Israel, given that the Australian Constitution provides that foreign affairs is a matter for the Commonwealth Government?" he asked. "I believe the answer is twofold: firstly, the role of NSW Jewry in the life of our state; and secondly, flowing from that is Israel's emotional appeal to NSW Jewry."
According to Foley, given that
a) "Jewish citizens of the colony and then State of NSW have always played a prominent role in the affairs and governance of our society;" and that
b) "Israel exercises an extremely powerful and emotional pull on Australian Jews;" such that
c) "the NSW PFoI group is not merely a friendship group with a foreign state [but] also a friendship group with the NSW Jewish community;" then
d) "[I]t was therefore appropriate for members of the NSW PFoI to embark on a study tour," because "I do not believe it is possible to fully understand the Jewish community of our State without making an attempt to familiarise ourselves with and understand the State of Israel."
Pretty neat, eh? Conversely, I suppose, because we can't find any Muslim First Fleeters and parliamentarians, despite "the extremely powerful emotional pull" on Australian Muslims of Mecca, no Parliamentary Friends of Mecca group has so far been formed. (If, on the other hand, we do eventually locate a Muslim First Fleeter...)
But I know what you lot out there are thinking, you cynical bastards. And so does Foley, because he hastens to add: "I note for the record that the 10 parliamentarians who went on the trip met their own airfares and accommodation costs."
Padding his speech with a wad of 'Israel was born of the Holocaust' mythology and a reference to Vasily Grossman's The Hell of Treblinka (didn't I tell you he was an intellectual?), Foley goes on to pay lip service to the Palestinian untermenschen: "I acknowledge that in addition to our activities in Israel we also visited the [occupied] Palestinian territory, the West Bank, and were guests of the Palestinian Authority. We met with the PA governor of the Bethlehem district and some of his colleague. They, like our Israeli hosts, were most gracious with their time." [Typically, Foley's not telling what they had to say.]
And then, in an astonishing display of chutzpah, Foley comes out with this: "I conveyed to them the strong support of the Palestinian community in NSW for their legitimate national aspiration for a Palestinian nation state by the United Nations and the international community."
On what grand occasion of pomp and ceremony, one is left wondering, did the Palestinian community in NSW confer on Luke Foley the authority to convey such a sentiment to the PA?
Next in the Doing the Donkey in the NSW Knesset series: the Right Reverend Fred Nile MLC reveals that God's in His Heaven and all's well with Israel. Stay tuned.
[*See my 2/3/13 post Doing the Donkey;**See my 18/1/11 post A Rising Tide of Pro-Israel Bias at the ABC.]