Today, November 29, is the 66th anniversary of the day the United Nations General Assembly, then more of a white man's club than a body which truly represented the people of the world, voted for the partition of Palestine, without consulting its people, into a 'Jewish' and an Arab state. (This kind of decision, of course, would be inconceivable today.)
Not for nothing has November 29 been designated by the UN as International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
November 29 should be seen by Australians in particular as a day of shame because of the vital role played in the partition of Palestine by Australia's then foreign minister, Dr Herbert Vere Evatt (1945-49).
As chairman of the UN's Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question, Evatt voted against referring the Palestine problem to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion and voted for partition when the matter came before the UNGA on November 29.
Evatt, who went on to become President of the UNGA, is viewed today an 'icon' of the Australian Labor Party.
And don't we just love our icons?
God knows why, but in our naivety, we often assume that they act out of some kind of superior knowledge or wisdom intrinsic to themselves. How wrong we are. In fact, Evatt knew virtually nothing of Palestine or Palestinians, and cared even less.
What explains his shameful role in the dismemberment of Palestine is those who had access to him, those who had his ear. Meet Max Freilich and friends:
"In my capacity as President of the Zionist State Council and member of the Department for Zionist Policy, I was actively associated with this public relations effort. But perhaps more than any of my Zionist colleagues I realised that such public relations activity is a long-term educational process, a process not conducive to, or capable of, getting immediate results. As victory for the Allies was in sight and the war's end was drawing nearer I was deeply persuaded that to be effective and to achieve immediate results we must aim for a direct and short-cut approach to the political leaders of the country. I often had occasion to discuss this problem with my friend Abram Landa, Labor Member of the NSW Parliament, who agreed with my viewpoint. Abe was a close friend of Dr Herbert Vere Evatt, Minister of External Affairs in the Labour Government of the Commonwealth of Australia and Dr Evatt was the logical Cabinet Minister to approach. The executive of the Zionist Council, as far back as August 1942, at my suggestion, decided that Dr Evatt be requested to receive a deputation which would put to him the Zionist case... A deputation led by Saul Symonds, President of the NSW Jewish Advisory Board, was received eventually by Dr Evatt, presenting to him the Zionist case and the tragedy of European Jewry. Dr Evatt received us most cordially, assured us of the Commonwealth Government's deep sympathy and promised his utmost support 'when the time comes'. The formal approach to the Government and the result, favourable as it certainly appeared to be, did not satisfy my sense of urgency... The opportunity for personal contact with members of the Government of the day came to me in mid-1944 when the Commonwealth Government decided to hold a referendum on amendments to the Constitution... Through the good offices of Abram Landa I was able to serve in some small measure the cause of the Government. This brought me into contact with Mr Ben Chifley, then Federal Treasurer, and Dr Evatt, Minister for External Affairs and Attorney-General in John Curtin's Cabinet... [M]y association with Dr Evatt developed into a warm personal friendship during the critical and historic days for Zionism in the pre-state period, when the partition of Palestine was dealt with by the United Nations at Lake Success." (Zion In Our Time: Memoirs of an Australian Zionist, 1967, pp 114-115)
Not for nothing did AIJAC's Daniel Mandel call his 2004 book on Evatt, H.V. Evatt & the Establishment of Israel: The Undercover Zionist.
And speaking of undercover Zionists, our current crop have just sided in the UN with Israel, the United States, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau to vote against the adoption of a UNGA resolution declaring 2014 as International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (110 for, 56 abstaining).