Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Carr Diary 4: An Independent-Thinking PM?

In the wake of Bob Carr's disclosures about the influence exerted over former prime minister Julia Gillard by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), this particular branch of the Israel lobby, as you'd expect, is in denial.

Note, for example, the pretense that, when it comes to Israel, Julia Gillard is really her own woman:

"In a statement released yesterday, AIJAC said Carr's comments were sad and bizarre. 'Mr Carr's spurious allegations that the lobby held 'extraordinary' and 'unhealthy' sway over the views of former prime minister Julia Gillard... shows her a distinct lack of respect,' the statement read. 'Ms Gillard was an independent-thinking prime minister who is fully capable of coming to her own conclusions about optimum Australian foreign policies..." (Falafel factions, Likudniks & Carr... The Australian, 11/4/14)

This hardly squares, however, with the following data in the same report:

"Carr was frustrated and gloomy. Although he was foreign minister, he had little say on Israel policy - at least not publicly - with all official utterances vetted by Gillard's foreign policy adviser Richard Maude*, her staffer Bruce Wolpe and cabinet secretary Mark Dreyfus. Wolpe, who remains Gillard's spokesman, and Dreyfus, who holds the outer Melbourne seat of Isaacs, are Jewish."

Wolpe has been described elsewhere as Gillard's "special emissary to the Jewish community," and as "providing 'inordinate access' to the hardline pro-Israel elements of the Melbourne Jewish community who were having an undue influence on Gillard." (See my 3/12/12 post While You Weren't looking 2.)**

And who could possibly forget former Labor leader Mark Latham's memorable description of Gillard's 're-education' by the CIA?

"Over the years I have received tender messages from Gillard saying how much she misses me in Canberra... One of them concerned her study tour of the US, sponsored by the American government in 2006 - or to use her moniker - 'a CIA re-education course'... She promised 'to catch up when I'm back from the US and I'll show you my CIA-issued ankle holster'. I never got to see her ankles or her holster, but I will say this: you have to hand it to those guys in Washington... Within the space of 2 years they converted her from a highly cynical critic of all matters American into yet another foreign policy sycophant." (See my 22/8/09 post Gillard: 'Sycophant'.)

[*Maude was appointed director-general of Australia's peak foreign intelligence agency, the Office of National Assessments (ONA), last May; **See also PM's Jewish move queried, Michelle Grattan, The Age, 25/1/12.]

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