Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Carr Diary 12: Reflections 6

In his Diary entry for 27 November, 2012, Carr tells how he received a phone call from Kevin Rudd, "speaking in that sinister undertone that bodes no charity."

You might remember the msm media seizing on this and hyping it as one of the Diary's quotable quotes. Typically, however, what immediately followed it - a matter of far more import - received scant attention:

"Darkly he commented on the state of affairs, rehearsing the history of his relations with the Israel lobby, once so happy, now so gloomy. How much of this is about money, I asked him. He said that about one-fifth of the money he had raised in the 2007 election campaign had come from the Jewish community." (p 232)

He goes on to describe the cabinet meeting from which Gillard emerged, virtually bereft of support:

"So nine ministers spoke against the Prime Minister's position and [defence minister Stephen] Smith had spoken at the earlier meeting. That was ten. On the other side, only two [Shorten and Conroy, described as having "an umbilical attachment to the cause of Israel"] had spoken for her. But the Prime Minister repeated that it was her right to decide and she would adhere to her previous position. Her brisk efficiency descended into a style that was icy and robotic." (p 236)

The next morning Carr informed Gillard, who had obviously learnt nothing from her lack of support in cabinet, what was being planned for the coming caucus meeting:

"I said the motion in caucus would no longer be for Australia to support a 'yes' vote at the UN... but for Australia to support an abstention. I saw fear dance in her eyes. She had not been expecting abstention business." (p 238)

In caucus, Gillard had the choice of either sticking to her guns and going down for Israel, or else caving in and so retaining her position as PM. It was a no-brainer. Carr writes of her decision to finally back down in the face of a caucus revolt against her hitherto adamantine refusal to contemplate anything other than an Israel YES vote (in the form of a Palestine NO vote) with all that that signified: "For a moment at least, the universe was moving in accordance with the laws of justice." (p 240)

He adds: "The Prime Minister... had a word with me outside, saying she wanted help in seeing that the story wasn't pitched in terms of her being done over..." (p 240)

What an extraordinary state of affairs! As I indicated in my 18/1/13 post, The PM Who Put Her Job on the Line for Israel, the day an Australian prime minister took her leadership down to the wire for Israeli apartheid must surely rank as one of the most bizarre and ignominious moments in Australia's political history. The msm media at the time, of course, simply failed to register this. Thank God Carr has chronicled it for us. He will be forever in our debt for having done so. I'll let him have the last word:

"I rang the local ambassador of the Palestinians to tell him the decision. He was thrilled. 'I can show my face in the Arab world,' I joked. I rang [US ambassador] Jeff Bleich to break the news that we won't be sticking to them. But he had been primed with a good line, I guess from the Prime Minister's office. 'I hear you and the Prime Minister stopped a 'yes' vote getting up,' he said. Er, yes, I concurred. I told him it confirmed a shift in thinking in my party - tired of Netanyahu and the bellicose right wing and sick of the spread of settlements. He agreed Israel had lost the public relations battle. He said we couldn't be accused of changing our vote to earn Security Council votes - we didn't promise anything. That's right, we got elected without a commitment and simply delivered. I got a message from James that Yuval was unhappy with the decision and my role in it. It had been my doing. Correct. The column of ten nations, die-hards, glued on Israel supporters - Micronesia and the Marshall Islands - had just been reduced by one. A message to the settlers and the fanatics in Israel, a message to the noble Israeli liberals and moderates, a message to a suffering West Bank population, battered and trapped, a message to the UN membership about Australia, the country they just elected to the Security Council." (pp 240-41)

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