CHRISTOPHER DORE: Israel is Australia’s ally. You wouldn’t know it from listening to Albanese or Wong

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Christopher Dore
The Nightly
8 Min Read
Penny Wong and her Prime Minister Anthony Albanese need to stop disrespecting Australia’s ally Israel, says Christopher Dore.
Penny Wong and her Prime Minister Anthony Albanese need to stop disrespecting Australia’s ally Israel, says Christopher Dore. Credit: The Nightly /The Nightly

Penny Wong and her Prime Minister Anthony Albanese now talk about Israel, in language and tone, as if it is our enemy, not our ally.

Wong, our Foreign Affairs Minister, speaks with open hostility, directing scorn at Israel, an inclusive, modern, liberal, democratic state surrounded by apocalyptic religious regimes, under persistent siege from radical murderous Islamic terrorists.

Wong’s distaste for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is palpable, her hatred raw. In this regard, most of her Labor colleagues, and our Government, agree. It’s not about Israel, they will say privately, it’s Netanyahu, a monster, and his right-wing party, Likud. We are not anti-Semitic, we only hate some Jews. Mostly the ones who refuse to surrender to the demands of the righteous Palestinians, and their terrorist army of rapists and hostage-takers, Hamas.

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With disdain and deliberate visceral disgust, Wong, from the comfort and safety of her office in the Adelaide CBD, spits out orders to Israel, in the grip of yet another lonely existential war they didn’t ask for: “We say to Mr Netanyahu, you must change course.”

The venom is disconcerting, the message to our ally devastating.

The nourishment it offers our actual enemy is disgusting.

The consequences for all of us, are dangerous.

Wong and her subservient Prime Minister Albanese, like all from the left long obsessed with Israel, believe the world is now with them.

Morally corrupt left-wing activists have staged a successful coup inside the Australian Labor Party. The left is always searching for an issue to unite the movement worldwide. They have found one. And it is nothing short of shameful. Labor’s now minority sensible right rendered inert and inept. They should be embarrassed by their silence.

In reality, the West, entirely devoid of leadership, is in crisis.

We are in a proxy war on several fronts against a new Cold War axis. Russia, China and Iran, divergent in ambition, are acting in concert against modern Western civilisation.

Driven by brazen, indecent domestic political motivations, and captured and constrained by ill-conceived migration policies, the hapless, failing administrations in the US and the UK have succumbed to a PR offensive, and retreated from the key front in Israel.

Today, in rhetoric and action, this Albanese Labor Government has abandoned Israel, left it alone and isolated in the ongoing war against radical Islamist leaders, and their terrorists, determined to destroy western civilisation.

In doing so, Albanese and Wong have deserted Jews. The people of Israel, yes, and let’s be clear on this, the torn and tormented Jewish families in Australia as well.

Albanese has left Australian Jews forlorn, confused and bereft. He has failed to find the moral strength and the measured words required to guide the nation through this crisis. He has shown no sign he comprehends for a moment the impact he is having, as Prime Minister, on Jewish Australia.

That lack of leadership, of moral clarity, has done nothing to appease or comfort local Palestinians, or to change the fundamental belief among so many Muslims, Australians included, that Israel simply should not exist.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (left) and Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong during a Cabinet meeting in Melbourne, Monday, March 4, 2024. (AAP Image/James Ross) NO ARCHIVING
Wong and her subservient Prime Minister Albanese, like all from the left long obsessed with Israel, believe the world is now with them.  Credit: JAMES ROSS/AAPIMAGE

Politics has always been more important to Pragmatic Penny than principle. That’s the polite way of putting it.

There was a time, not so long ago, when Islamist terrorists, inspired by the exact cause that drives Hamas today, killed 3000 innocent souls in a cold and callous attack on the West, and Australia, in strategic and civilised solidarity, gravely went to war in retaliation.

The battle against Hamas is an extension of the very same war that Australia joined wholeheartedly in 2001.

Those extremist Islamist terrorists of 9/11 justified their attack on America by citing the very existence of Israel; and by the US presence in the Middle East, protecting Israel. One could argue that the war of civilisations still rages today, with Israel as the frontline, because the US and its allies failed to finish the job.

That battle, and Australia’s role, continued for two decades. Countless lives were lost, including 46,319 civilians, and 446 humanitarian/NGO workers. When last in government, in 2010, Wong was all in, even though, as she told Parliament: “We also know that Afghan civilians have also suffered immense loss.”

“It is an awful thing to hear of any casualty or any fatality from a mission like this.” Her tone, rightly, was solemn, and sincere.

The mission in Afghanistan was “firmly in our national and broader global interests”. “It is clearly in our national interests to minimise the risks to Australia and to our allies from terrorism. We know Afghanistan remains vulnerable to reverting to being a safe haven for terrorists.” Substitute Afghanistan with Gaza and Hamas.

What has changed?

Wong and Albanese will say their rhetoric is consistent with the posture of the US and the UK. It is hardly a radical rejoinder to state that our Western allies are currently being run by two of the most impotent leaders in history. Each of them feeble on foreign affairs. Both, facing imminent demise, are cynically playing to domestic audiences, and the emerging influential Arab and Muslim communities. These two men are no role models for Australia. Team AUKUS want a ceasefire, but won’t demand a surrender of Hamas leaders, or put any pressure on their nation-state protectors and collaborators. And they won’t explain what happens when the terrorist leaders are left to get away, literally, with murder.

As if waiting for the perfect excuse to attack Israel. Albanese described the death of an Australian aid worker in the middle of a war zone as a “catastrophic event”. Tragic, absolutely. Catastrophic. No. That is absurd. The Prime Minister says Australia is angry. His language is emotional and over the top.

More than once he told us, that in no uncertain terms on the phone, he gave it to Netanyahu, a prime minister at war, surrounded by enemies, whose country is still reeling from a shocking, devastating terrorist attack that resulted in 1200 civilians dead. More than 130 are still being held hostage.

FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a cabinet meeting at the Kirya military base, which houses the Israeli Ministry of Defence, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, Dec . 24, 2023. Israel's Supreme Court on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, struck down a key component of Netanyahu's contentious judicial overhaul, a decision that threatens to reopen the fissures in Israeli society that preceded the country's ongoing war against Hamas.(AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, Pool, File)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg/AP

Israel — remember this is our friend whom we share intelligence with — has apologised, and admitted the strike on the aid convoy, in a war zone, was a dreadful mistake. They have promised an investigation. They have stood down two soldiers. Do we not believe them all of a sudden? This is the same Israel who not so long ago tipped Australia off to a well-advanced Islamist plot, allowing our security forces to foil what would have been the most horrific Australian terrorist attack.

But now we don’t believe them?

Albanese has had assurances directly from his Israeli counterpart but wants to stay angry. He wants answers and a transparent investigation, yet pre-empts the findings by declaring the drone strike a war crime, a “breach of humanitarian international law”. Full stop.

Worse, Albanese has permitted a Cabinet minister, in a domestic portfolio, to freelance on the conflict, further undermining our relationship with Israel.

How on earth does Science Minister Ed Husic get to talk in this way about an ally, in an unhinged and undiplomatic, utterly divisive fashion?

His only qualification to speak on this topic, apparently, is that he is Muslim.

Think about that for a moment.

For Labor, is this actually about religion after all?

Is this about Israel and Palestine, or is it about Islam and Judaism?

Australian Industry Minister Ed Husic speaks to media during a press conference in Darwin, Wednesday, June 8, 2022. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING
How on earth does Science Minister Ed Husic get to talk in this way about an ally, in an unhinged and undiplomatic, utterly divisive fashion? Credit: LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

Husic stated as fact, unchallenged, that the Israeli Government was guilty of a “systematic failure” to observe international humanitarian law. That is, Israel has committed, deliberately, wantonly, persistently, as a matter of policy, war crimes. And that’s why civilians have been killed.

“You cannot target humanitarian workers; you cannot target journalists; you cannot target schools, hospitals; and you’ve got a responsibility under international humanitarian law to distinguish clearly between combatants and civilians and protect civilians.”

Albanese is happy to allow Cabinet minister Husic to indiscriminately accuse Israel of deliberately targeting and killing thousands of civilians.

Outrageous and despicable. Divisive. Wrong.

But in this Albanese-Wong era, it is apparently acceptable. Obviously encouraged.

If only Albanese and Wong (and their new foreign affairs expert in Cabinet Ed Husic) had been this angry, this disgusted, this outraged, this demanding with and of Hamas, their leaders, and those regimes in the Middle East who are protecting them, and arming their fighters.

Albanese and Wong, by choosing to react in this fashion, are unleashing the darkest forces.

Contrast Albanese’s rhetorical anger at the accidental death of an Australian aid worker in a war zone with his attitude toward the deliberate targeting of Australian navy divers in international waters, under attack from Chinese warships.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 6: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (centre) gives an address to the Leaders Plenary during the 2024 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in Melbourne, Wednesday, March 6, 2024. (Photo by Joel Carrett - Pool/Getty Images)
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Credit: Joel Carrett/Getty Images

Albanese, who has declined to visit Israel since October 7, happily visited China but failed to confront the Chinese dictator Xi Jinping over the potentially fatal unprovoked attack on our navy. He has demanded no investigation or explanation. The Chinese Ambassador in Canberra even mocked Australia over the incident, laughing it away and blaming Japan.

Albanese lectures and harangues Netanyahu, the wartime Prime Minister, a friend of our people and our country.

Albanese embraces Xi, the dictator, who still illegitimately imprisons Australians, punishes our exporters and threatens our citizens. Albanese seeks him out in an international forum for a gregarious handshake and conspicuous show of mateship.

It is legitimate for the Australian Prime Minister to privately raise concerns with a friend about the conduct of war. He should be talking to Israel about the war. Absolutely should. But why is Albanese, and his Foreign Minister, treating Israel so disrespectfully?

We need an incorruptible unscrupulous mature stance from our leaders. Language. Tone. Words. They matter. What you say, how you say it, and what reaction you’re trying to elicit is important.

Right now Albanese and Wong are saying loudly, disturbingly, Israel we are not your friend. We are not in this with you. This casual indifference, the arrogance, is echoing through the homes of Jewish families. It is deplorable.

They need to stop. And reset. Urgently.

This Labor administration has changed Australia’s policy on Israel, it should be open about that.

With mates like Albanese and Wong, who need allies.

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