A June 2014 snapshot of the Israeli-occupied Australian Labor Party:
1) Here's Opposition leader, Bill Shorten (described by former Labor foreign minister Bob Carr as "umbilically attached to the cause of Israel") doing the old duck and weave when asked by a journalist if he's comfortable with the Abbott Government's rejection of the word 'occupied' to describe Palestinian territory OCCUPIED by Israel in 1967:
Journalist: [A]re you comfortable with the Government's decision to drop 'occupied territories' as the word to describe Israeli settlements?
Shorten: On this matter, we take our foreign affairs very seriously. We believe the Government should always do things through consultation and working through the issues. Middle Eastern issues are very complex but we think the Government should step through these processes rather than pull surprises on people.
Journalist: So are you comfortable or not?
Shorten: It is more a process issue for the Government. Our Prime Minister is trying to fix up the relationship they have damaged with Indonesia. I think when it comes to diplomacy and international relations, the fewer surprises and the more thought-out positions, that's what we require.
Journalist: We still didn't get a position from you. Are you comfortable?
Shorten: I am not comfortable with the process this Government is adopting and I am not going to get caught up in second-guessing the outcomes when I'm not convinced the process has been the correct process. (Doorstop: Williamstown, billshorten.com.au, 6/6/14)
Of course he's comfortable with the Government's move, just not with this journalist's questions.
2) Here's Shorten's Deputy & Shadow Foreign Minister, Tanya (injudicious no more) Plibersek, speaking through one of her minders:
"We are committed to supporting an enduring and just two-state solution. Clear Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advice to Labor in government was that the settlements are not in line with international law." (George Brandis's take on 'occupied east Jerusalem' comes under Labor fire, Katharine Murphy, theguardian.com, 6/6/14)
Not illegal, mind you, just "not in line with international law"!
3) Now for a snapshot of the troops. Just back from a rambamming in Israel. (You're surprised? You mean you didn't know? Well, of course you didn't know. You could read the Australian corporate press from sunup to sundown, and you still wouldn't know. Only The Australian Jewish News ever reports these propaganda junkets.)
Read and weep:
"Shadow foreign minister and Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek reiterated Australia's support for Israel in its desire to achieve a two-state peace outcome with the Palestinians [?!], in recent remarks to the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council. Plibersek - who visited Israel in January - saw her views echoed at meetings in Sydney and Melbourne* by members of a federal Labor parliamentary delegation who took part in AIJAC's Israel Rambam study visit program last month.
"Group members - led by Senator Penny Wong and including Deborah O'Neill, Gai Brodtmann MP, Stephen Jones MP, Dr Jim Chalmers MP and Tim Watts MP - expressed appreciation for having the opportunity to explore realities firsthand, and meet a variety of Israelis and Palestinians in such locales as Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Tel Aviv and Sderot.
"Wong cited Yad Vashem as a very moving highlight of her visit. She also said that, at Sderot, she was struck by the resilience and persistence of ordinary Israelis and the challenges of Israel's leaders having to juggle the work of government with managing a constant existential threat.
"Brodtmann expressed concern about the challenges hindering the Palestinian Authority's ability to realise the two-state solution - in particular the destabilising influence of Hamas. Meanwhile, Watts said he was impressed by the objectivity of the Rambam program, which he said exposed him to a diverse range of views and the space to develop his own views on Israel without intrusion or interference.
"O'Neill told a rapt audience that she believed that 'Israel is ready for peace.' She also spoke eloquently about how she was moved by the 'depth of understanding of a shared humanity' from watching Arab and Jewish Israeli doctors and nurses working together at Tzfat's Ziv Hospital to treat Syrians injured in that country's devastating civil war." (ALP leaders reflect on Israel, 6/6/14)
My fave here has to be Penelope Wong's "a constant existential threat." Seriously, Penelope, if you had to choose "a constant existential threat," which one would it be, the one talked about ad nauseam by Israeli leaders or the one experienced on a daily basis by Palestinians?
[*A taxpayer-funded shuttle service?]