In his new book, Diary of a Foreign Minister, former foreign minister Bob Carr talks of an Israel lobby exercising an extraordinary influence over former PM Julia Gillard, but according to some folk he's either a bigot or a conspiracy-theorist. Meet the Israel lobby deniers:
Michael Danby (Shadow Minister for Israel and all-round mensch):
Louise Yaxley: He also talks about the Jewish lobby or the pro-Israel lobby in Melbourne running the country and says it has an extraordinary influence over Julia Gillard's office. What do you make of that?
Michael Danby: Well, I put it in the same category as all of the other claims. It was, no lobby in Australia I understand has that kind of influence. It's laughable. But I suppose in the current climate, as George Brandis says, it's OK to be a bigot.
LY: But how much influence did the pro-Israel lobby have over Julia Gillard's office in your view.
MD: As much influence as any other lobby does...
LY: And is that why Julia Gillard took that position that she did about how Australia should vote at the UN?
MD: I think she took that position because she believed that the best way to a peace settlement... and to end the issue of the settlements is a peace settlement. (Labor MP Michael Danby says Bob Carr 'nutty' and 'maniacal' in interview: bigoted views, mobile.abc.net.au, 10/4/14)
Mark Leibler (Australia-Israel & Jewish Affairs Council):
"How does the Jewish lobby control the prime minister? Through donations to the ALP and sending people to Israel? I mean, give me a break. Would anyone seriously accept that?... When we've got an issue... which needs to be raised, we haven't had a problem in getting access to either ALP or liberal prime ministers or foreign ministers and so it should be. Any representative of a community organisation, if they've got something serious to say, they'll get the access." (Former foreign minister Bob Carr says 'pro-Israel lobby' influenced government policy, abc.net.au/news, 10/4/14)
Robert Goot (Executive Council of Australian Jewry):
"These claims border on conspiracy theories which make for salacious gossip and help sell books but bear no relation to reality." (The book salesman, jwire.com.au, 10/4/14)
Barry Cohen (retired federal Labor minister):
"I have seen what Bob Carr has written about the power of the pro-Israel lobby. You want to know what I think of Bob's comments? Here's what I think. I think it's bullshit." (Reasons stack up for ALP's simmering Israel divide, Mark Hawthorne, Sydney Morning Herald, 11/4/14)