FORMER federal Labor MP Melissa Parke has been slammed over comments she made this week accusing Israel of apartheid.
Writing in the Herald Sun newspaper, Parke said, “To say that Israel has become an apartheid state is not antisemitic; it is a simple statement of fact and international law.”
She also accused the “pro-Israel lobby” of a “relentless vendetta against critics of Israeli state policy”.
“They debase the true meaning of the term ‘antisemitism’ and they let real antisemites, mainly far-right white nationalists, off the hook,” Parke claimed.
She added, “Calling for Israel’s compliance with international law and respect for Palestinian rights is not the same thing as hostility to or prejudice against Jews. Indeed, there are many Jews who believe Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is illegal and immoral.
“Let’s reserve the term ‘antisemitic’ for those who truly deserve it.”
Condemning the comments, Anti-Defamation Commission chair Dvir Abramovich told The AJN Parke’s “offensive and misguided” accusation “bears no resemblance to the realities of contemporary Israel”.
“Israel boasts one the most diverse and free democracies in the world, safeguarding the rights of Jews, Muslims and Christians and other minorities and ensuring that its Arab citizens enjoy full and equal rights before the law,” Abramovich said.
Stating, “Israel has never favoured or practised an apartheid policy, and has long accepted a two-state solution and self-determination for the Palestinians,” he added, “We urge Ms Parke to reflect on her words and to refrain from using such hurtful statements in the future.”