Saturday, July 7, 2018

Shorten's Tribute to Michael Danby

"Shorten paid tribute to Danby, thanking him for his '20 years of service to the parliament' and 'lifetime of service to the labour movement'. Michael's colleagues and his constituents know him as a champion for the arts and a true friend of Israel,' the Labor leader said. 'Throughout his career Michael has always put fidelity to these principles ahead of any consideration of narrow political self-interest'." (Controversial Labor MP Michael Danby announces retirement, Paul Karp,, 5/7/18)

Let me unpack this:

"20 years of service to the parliament"?

Shorten means 20 years of "ensuring that the policies of the Labor party, in its internal considerations of the issues relating to the Middle East, are consistent with the aspirations of the local Jewish community," and "corralling his parliamentary colleagues and forcing them to think long, hard and seriously about matters that often conjure knee-jerk reactions," these occasioned by natural revulsion at Israel's 2008-09 butchery in Gaza.* (See my 1/3/09 post Nipping at their Heels.)

"Michael's colleagues... know him as a true friend of Israel."

Too understated. As Bob Carr once put it: "Michael Danby is a passionate supporter of Israel - Israel right or wrong. I describe Michael, who is a great friend of mine, as being a stronger Labor Zionist than Ben Gurion, the founder of the state of Israel." (See my 18/10/13 post The MP Who Dares Not Speak His Name.)

"Michael has always put fidelity to these principles ahead of any consideration of narrow self-interest."

My oath he has! Like traveling to Israel on sick leave when he should have been sitting in parliament, or placing taxpayer-funded ads in the Australian Jewish News attacking hardworking ABC journalists for alleged bias against Israel.

Predictably, Shorten doesn't really do justice to Danby's devotion to Zionism. The adjective 'slavish' comes to mind. For example:

"MK Danny Danon (Likud) asked Australian MP Michael Danby... to propose, in parliament in Canberra, sending African migrants from Israel to Australia. Danon and Danby discussed the issue during the Australian politician's visit to Israel for the World Jewish Congress's International Conference of Jewish Parliamentarians. 'The arrival of thousands of [African] Muslim infiltrators to Israeli territory is a clear threat to [Israel's] Jewish identity', Danon told The Jerusalem Post. 'The refugees' place is not among us, and the initiative to transfer them to Australia is the right and just solution. On the one hand, it treats the refugees and migrants in a humane way. On the other hand, it does not threaten Israel's future and our goal to maintain a clear and solid Jewish majority', he explained. Danon said Danby enthusiastically agreed to present the idea to the Australian Parliament." (Danny Danon: Send African migrants to Australia, Lahav Harkov, 30/6/11)


Grappler said...

Compare the ongoing (until now) presence of Danby in the Australian Parliament, with the spectacle of many loyal Australian MPs being forced to resign because of dual citizenship issues.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Danby can now claim his "entitlement" to "the benefits" of the "foreign power" so close to his previous parliamentary activities.

This is at very heart of what s44 of the constitution is all about.

So much for "black letter law."