LAST month, Greens leader Adam Bandt wrote to The AJN assuring that it was “a furphy that the Greens do not support Israel”.
Four weeks later, a Victorian Greens Senator used a motion commemorating the 25th anniversary of the assassination of former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin to deliver a rant against the Jewish state.
Senator Janet Rice brought shame upon the Parliament when she laid the blame solely on Israel for the absence of a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But even more so, when she used a bipartisan motion in memory of a late statesman who fought for peace until the very end to lambast the very country he represented.
#BREAKING Foreign Minister Marise Payne and shadow foreign affairs minister Penny Wong have strongly rebuked Greens Senator Janet Rice this morning after the senator used a motion commemorating the 25th anniversary of the assassination of former Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin to attack the Jewish state. Thank you Ministers Payne and Wong! ????????????????
Posted by The Australian Jewish News on Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Rice’s comments – and their timing – were a disgrace, and were immediately condemned by her political rivals and by Jewish community leaders.
“This was a motion dedicated to the memory of an Israeli prime minister who was slain at a peace rally in support of Israeli–Palestinian peace. A man whose legacy is forever associated with his attempts to reach out to Palestinians,” Zionist Federation of Australia president Jeremy Leibler said.
Labor MP Josh Burns stated, “That the Greens had nothing to say about his legacy, but chose instead to politicise a motion in his honour, shows a deep ignorance of the history of the region and a serious lack of judgement.”
The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council added, “While the Greens’ policy platform states the party supports a two-state outcome for Israel and the Palestinians, Victorian Senator Janet Rice’s inappropriate contribution certainly cast doubt on this policy position.”
Rice conceded this week that the timing of her remarks were “clumsy”, but stopped short of any apology.
As the Executive Council of Australian Jewry told us, her “intervention revealed an appalling bias and came from a well-honed reflex to bring out anti-Israel talking points the second Israel or an Israeli is praised”.
In his letter, Bandt lamented the “misinformation about and misunderstanding of The Australian Greens’ policy on Israel and Palestine”. Given Rice’s speech, one wonders how much “misinformation” and “misunderstanding” there really is.