"Despite the current unrest, the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce has recently concluded another successful Trade Mission to Israel - 3rd for this year. Leading a senior group of 30 business executives, including Cameron Clyne, Group CEO at NAB and John Pataridis, Managing Director at Optus Business... The purpose of the visit was to both explore business and investment opportunities as well as understand Israel's unique entrepreneurial and innovative eco-system. Naturally there was also a strong interest in geo-politics. Delegates were briefed by Lt. General Gabi Ashkenazi, former Chief of Staff at the IDF and Carmi Gillon, former head of the Shin Bet... The visit included a reception hosted by Australia's Ambassador to Israel, his Excellency Dave Sharma and a performance by the Bat Sheva Dance Company - one of the world's leading contemporary dance groups. The group also took in many of Israel's most iconic tourist destinations, including the Old City of Jerusalem, Dead Sea/Masada, Yad Vashem, Holocaust Museum, Jaffa, Caesarea and the Bahai Temple in Haifa... The Chamber has been facilitating Trade Missions to Israel for over 25 years... Its next Trade Mission is scheduled for May 2015 and will be led by Simon McKeown, Chairman of CSIRO and former Australian of the Year." (NAB chief head of mission to Israel, jwire.com.au, 28/7/14)
From 25-29 July, Israeli love-in impresario, Albert Dadon (Israeli Film Festival, Australia Israel Leadership Forum), staged his annual Australia-UK-Israel Leadership Dialogue in Jerusalem.
Typically, there was next to nothing on the subject in the Australian press. I could find only one brief report (Christopher Pyne says Australia on 'the right side of Israel now', The Canberra Times, Primrose Riordan, 2/8/14) which again, typically, cited only the attendance of revellers Pyne, Michael Danby and David Feeney. How the Australian public is ever to be informed on the subject of Australian politicians' cavortings with Israel without a full listing of all who attend such gigs is just another of those mainstream media mysteries that we, the public, are supposed to put up with.
Moreover, although regaling us on an almost daily basis with the gibberish of LNP politicians, the Australian ms media has done us no favour in failing to report the following egregious specimen of same by Education Minister Christopher Pyne, proving conclusively, for those still in doubt, what an absolute goose the man is. I've copied it verbatim from the Jewish community site, J-Wire, including all, repeat all, the typos (or not as the case may be), for your complete enjoyment. My comments are in brackets:
"Tonight I want to address why the Australians are here... But firstly I should say good friends visit their friends in tough times. It is easy to visit your friends when things are going well. Fair-weather friends who come and go when things are on the up and up are easy to come by. Friends who come when times are tough - they are the real friends.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I was approached by a young man at the reception here at the King David Hotel here on Friday, his name was Aaron, and he asked me who I was and where I was from, and I said I was from Australia and he said 'why are you here?'. And I very simply said, because Australians love freedom. And he said very simply, that freedom isn't free, right?. And I said exactly right. [Such GW Bush profundity!]
"The reason why the Australians are here today, the first reason, is because Australians value freedom. And we have been fighting for freedom for 114 years and usually alongside our UK friends, whether it has been in the Battle of Beersheeva [sic] here in Israel [sic], in the Second World War, or the First World War, or more recently in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Vietnam and Korea, wars that are now well and truly in the past. [Iraq and Afghanistan... well and truly in the past? Has anyone told the Iraqis and the Afghans?]
"Whenever there has been a congregation of freedom loving nations versus non-freedom loving nations, Australia has always been prepared to be in the fight and always on the right side. And that's how we view the state of Israel that we are on the right side. It is the story about the King of Denmark during the Second World War when the Nazis changed their attitude towards the deportation of the Danish Jews. There weren't many Danish Jews, about 8,000 or so, but the King of Denmark when the Nazis changed their attitude and said that they would start to deport the Jews, said that the Jews are Dames and the Dames are Jews. In other words, the concerns of Jewish Dames were the concerns of all Dames.
"In the same way I believe, and I think most Australians believe, that the destruction or defeat of Israel is a concern for all of us around the world. Because Israel is the beacon of freedom and liberty in the Middle East and Australia likes to believe that it is in the world. We are two sister nations believing in the same thing - freedom of the press*, freedom of democracy, freedom of association**. It shows that Israel has existential threats that requires them to take firm action to protect those freedoms, firmer actions than Australia has had to take to protect our own existence. So that is the first reason, ladies and gentlemen, why the Australians are here. Because we regard Israel and Australia as sister countries with the same value systems and we want to show our support for that system here in the Middle East.
"The second reason is more personal, ladies and gentlemen, and it goes to the question of remembering some of the crimes of the past. The great crime of the past against the Jewish people was the Holocaust. And just coming to Israel as an Australian... we reaffirm that we will not forget the crime of the Holocaust against the Jewish people and we stand with the Jewish people. Simply by the act of making sure this dialogue was not cancelled when some people said it should have been cancelled because it was dangerous the Australians and British came here, simply by that act reaffirmed that we will not forget the Holocaust.
"This is my sixth visit to Israel. And it is important that we come again and again to Israel. To say it to those in the Islamic Jihad, the terrorists - Hamas or ISIS or whoever they are - that by their actions they won't frighten Australians into coming to Israel and supporting Israel. That is by me and my colleagues, whether they are Labor or Liberal, are here supporting this Dialogue because it proves, ladies and gentlemen, it proves that freedom is winning and tyranny is losing."
[*Freedom of the press? "A spokeswoman for Mr Abbott said: 'It was a constructive and cordial discussion and the PM looks forward to further dialogue.' The Prime Minister's office invited only multicultural media to the press conference before the meeting, meaning Fairfax Media and other organisations were not included." (Onus of proof unreasonable, Muslim heads tell Abbott, David Wroe & Daisy Dumas, Sydney Morning Herald, 19/8/14); **Freedom of association? See my last post NSW Police Seek to Can BDS Protest.]